Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Conflicts

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
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184. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the planned response and action to deal with the crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan. [29697/20]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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At EU level the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region was discussed at the European Council on the 1st of October, where leaders called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urged parties to recommit to a lasting ceasefire and the peaceful settlement of the conflict. The European Council clearly stated that there can be no military solution to the conflict, nor any external interference and called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to engage in substantive negotiations without preconditions. Leaders expressed support for the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and asked the EU High Representative to examine further EU assistance for the settlement process.

The UN Security Council Members also expressed support for Secretary-General Guterres’s call for an immediate halt to the fighting, and for the central role of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. Ireland will continue to endorse these efforts, including when we join the United Nations Security Council in January of next year.

France, the United States and Russia held talks on 8 October. However Armenia did not attend. Russian mediated talks in Moscow followed on Saturday 10th October. This resulted in an agreement for a cease-fire for humanitarian purposes that has been under pressure since coming into force, with both sides accusing each other of violating its terms. Further talks are planned led by Russia, the United States and France this week with officials from the OSCE Minsk group.

Ireland joins those calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to the negotiating table, and we welcome and support the statements of the European Council and the OSCE Minsk Co-Chairs calling for this. I am deeply concerned by the recent clashes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, in particular along the line of contact, which have regrettably led to the loss of life and severe injury, including civilian casualties. The alleged use of Cluster Munitions in any situation is deeply concerning. They pose unacceptably high risks to civilians, especially when used in populated areas. Furthermore, any indiscriminate use of, or impacts from, cluster munitions would be in contravention of International Humanitarian Law to which both Armenia and Azerbaijan must abide.

Ireland urges both sides to de-escalate tensions by refraining from inflammatory rhetoric and strictly observing the ceasefire. Only through negotiation, can there be a sustainable resolution and eventual reconciliation. The road to a peaceful resolution can be long and complex, as Ireland knows well, but progress grows from dialogue. Ireland fully supports the Minsk Process and we thank both the High Representative and the Co-Chairs Group for their efforts to de-escalate tensions over recent months.

We will continue to monitor this evolving situation closely.


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