arrival of the first UN mission in thirty years

arrival of the first UN mission in thirty years

2023-10-01 11:14:00

For the first time in three decades, a UN humanitarian mission arrived this Sunday, October 1, in Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian enclave recently taken over by Azerbaijan. It was a spokesperson for the Azerbaijani presidency who told AFP that the UN mission had arrived “Sunday morning”, with the main task of assessing the humanitarian needs on the spot.

Earlier, the UN announced that it had received the green light to send a mission to the territory this weekend. The Armenians, who had controlled Nagorno-Karabakh for three decades, capitulated and agreed to lay down their arms last week, after a lightning offensive by Azerbaijan.

More than 100,000 refugees

In total, nearly 600 deaths have been reported in the wake of this military offensive. The fighting itself killed around 200 soldiers on each side. Since then, the enclave has been almost entirely deserted by its inhabitants, with more than 100,000 refugees, who fled to Armenia for fear of reprisals from Azerbaijan, raising fears of a serious humanitarian crisis.

On Sunday, predominantly Christian Armenia observed a day of prayer for Nagorno-Karabakh. Church bells rang out across the country and the head of the Church, Garegin II, celebrated mass in a cathedral near Yerevan. While the reception of refugees is being organized with difficulty, opponents of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, accused of passivity and abandoned by Moscow, made their voices heard again on Saturday in the streets.

The Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, supported militarily and economically by Yerevan, resisted Baku for more than three decades, notably during two wars between 1988 and 1994 and in the fall of 2020.

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