The European Parliament has passed a resolution demanding sanctions against Azerbaijan’s political and military leadership for their alleged role in the “ethnic cleansing” of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. The resolution, adopted with an overwhelming majority of 491 votes in favor and only nine against, urges the European Union (EU) and its member states to impose targeted sanctions on individuals within the Azerbaijani government who are responsible for human rights violations in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Furthermore, the resolution calls for investigations into potential war crimes committed by Azerbaijani forces and expresses solidarity with the ethnic Armenians who have been displaced from their homes and ancestral lands, referring to the current situation as ethnic cleansing. The lightning military operation conducted by Azerbaijan in the disputed region is condemned as a pre-planned, unjustified attack that led to significant loss of life. It is considered a gross violation of human rights, international law, and a clear infringement of the trilateral ceasefire statement of November 9, 2020.
The resolution also raises concerns about the energy partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan and urges a reassessment of this partnership. Last year, the EU signed an agreement to double its natural gas imports from Azerbaijan by 2027 to offset shortages caused by the Western embargo against Russia.
During the debate on the resolution, MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo criticized the EU’s silence, accusing it of sacrificing the Armenian population in favor of realpolitik. Jordan Bardella, head of France’s National Rally, argued that the EU prioritizes gas over Armenian lives.
Since the local militia in Nagorno-Karabakh surrendered to Azerbaijani troops on September 20, more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians have fled the region. Azerbaijan justifies its offensive as a counterterrorism action against illegal armed groups, pointing to Armenia’s explicit recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory. It is important to note that the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is not recognized by any country, including Armenia.
In an effort to facilitate peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the EU had scheduled a meeting in Granada, Spain, on Thursday. However, the Azerbaijani government withdrew its participation citing the absence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claiming it would result in an anti-Azerbaijani atmosphere.
The European Parliament’s resolution highlights the serious concerns over the alleged ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh and calls for strong actions against those responsible. The adoption of this resolution demonstrates the EU’s commitment to human rights and peace in the region while addressing the complexities of energy partnerships. It remains to be seen how these demands and measures will be implemented and if they will have a significant impact on the ongoing conflict.