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May 30
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The plight of refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh is the latest chapter in a 35-year conflict that has forced hundreds of thousands of civilians from both sides to flee their homes. Last September, Azerbaijan carried out a military operation and restored its sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh. As a result, almost the entire ethnic Armenian population—about 100,000 people—fled to Armenia, where they faced severe humanitarian problems. Leo Docherty, the United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Europe, stated this during the UK House of Commons’ discussions on international assistance for Armenian refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh.

While the UK fully recognizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, it is also clear that the use of force is not an acceptable way to resolve tensions between communities. This military operation follows a nine-month blockade of the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, which has led to a dire humanitarian situation, including shortages of food, fuel, medicine, and other essential goods. The UK has made clear bilaterally, as well as at the OSCE and the UN, that restricting access to the Lachin corridor and other supply routes is unacceptable, and the UK publicly called for access to be restored, Docherty said.

Referring to the UK operations within the framework of humanitarian response, he noted that the UK continues to work with international partners of both countries to assist in the humanitarian response to the situation. Last September the UK announced allocating £1 million to the Red Cross to help the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict and the UK will continue to look at these issues, Docherty said.

He added that the UK supports Azerbaijan in providing territories for the return of its own displaced population, as well as in ensuring the integration of ethnic Armenians who wish to return.

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