Qatar has strongly urged a stop to the military escalation between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the highly contested Nagorno Karabakh region.
A statement released by Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry described the situation as “deeply concerning”, adding that Doha urges “all parties to stop the military escalation immediately”.
After two days of fighting, Armenian media reported that Armenia had come to an agreement with Azerbaijan, in a deal brokered by Russia.
The region is no stranger to conflict, while internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, it consists of over 100,000 ethnic Armenians.
In 1994, the first Nagorno-Karabakh war occurred, which resulted in a Russian-mediated ceasefire, however, Armenia had gained control of most of the region, although internationally recognised even to this day as part of Azerbaijan.
The second war in the region was in 2020, also resulting in a ceasefire agreement that was moderated by Russia and welcomed internationally, including Qatar.
However, Azerbaijan claimed victory in the war, as they had recaptured parts of the region that was previously controlled by Armenia.
The latest development was expected, as tensions between the two neighbouring countries have been high for months following Azerbaijan’s blockade of the only road that links Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, the Lachin Corridor.
Over 100,000 ethnic Armenians live in the region.
On Tuesday, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence said: “Local anti-terrorist activities carried out by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are ongoing.”
This was hours after they had reported that four of its soldiers as well as two civilians had died in the region.
Armenia accused them of conducting an operation of “ethnic cleansing”, while Azerbaijan said that “only legitimate military installations and infrastructure are targeted”.
The reactions from the world have been mixed.
Turkey, arguably Azerbaijan’s closest ally, has come to their aid, saying: “Azerbaijan had to take the measures it deemed necessary on its own sovereign territory after concerns they had expressed were not being resolved”.
However, the main reaction has been against Azerbaijan, mostly notably the European Union, UN- Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and both Russia and the US, condemning Azerbaijan and demanding a halt to its military operations, accusing them of violating the ceasefire agreement of 2020.
Now, after Karabakh officials report 27 deaths and over 200 injured, and after ethnic Armenian forces agreed to a disarmament, Azerbaijan announced that there would be a meeting between the two countries in Yevlakh, an Azerbaijani town which is located a hundred kilometres from the region’s capital of Khankendi, to “discuss reintegration issues”.
The meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday.