EU parliament backs sanctions against Azerbaijan

Lazy eyes listen


The European Parliament voted on Thursday to censure Azerbaijan’s political and military leaders, condemning the “ethnic cleansing” of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh.

The resolution, which was adopted with 491 votes in favour and only nine votes against, called on the EU and its member states to “adopt targeted sanctions against individuals in the Azerbaijani Government” responsible for human rights violations in Nagorno-Karabakh and demanded investigations into “abuses committed by Azerbaijani forces that may constitute war crimes.”

The resolution also expressed solidarity with Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenians “who have been forced to flee their homes and ancestral lands” and “considers that the current situation amounts to ethnic cleansing.”

Azerbaijan’s last-month lightning military operation in the disputed region was described as “a pre-planned, unjustified military attack… leading to significant loss of life,” which represented “a gross violation of human rights and international law, and a clear infringement of the trilateral ceasefire statement of 9 November 2020.”

MEPs asked that the EU halt all oil and gas supplies from Azerbaijan “in the event of military aggression against Armenian territorial integrity” or “attacks on Armenia’s constitutional order and democratic institutions.”

The resolution also requested that the EU reconsider its energy agreement with Baku. Last year, the EU agreed to quadruple natural gas imports from Azerbaijan by 2027 in order to compensate for shortages created by the Western boycott against Russia.

Earlier this week, Fabio Massimo Castaldo of Italy’s 5Star Movement criticised the EU for its “silence, which sacrificed the Armenian population in the name of realpolitik,” while Jordan Bardella of France’s National Rally argued that the EU “prefers petrol to Armenian blood.”

Since the local militia surrendered to Azeri troops on September 20, after a day of battle, more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians have fled Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has often pointed to Armenia expressly recognising the former breakaway province as sovereign Azeri territory, including last October’s EU-hosted negotiations in Prague.

Baku described its onslaught as a “counterterrorism” operation against “illegal armed groups.” No country, including Armenia, recognised the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The EU had arranged peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan for Thursday in Granada, Spain. However, the Baku administration cancelled its participation on Wednesday, citing the absence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as creating a “anti-Azerbaijani atmosphere.”