Germany will provide 2 million euros in emergency aid to civilians affected by the hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh conflict zone, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the German Bundestag.
“The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has flared up again and again in recent decades, has broken out into a hot war in the past few weeks. We have all watched it with horror over the past few days. We see the use of missiles and heavy combat equipment. We hear of numbers increasing every day. As always in war, the civilian population suffers particularly. The fighting destroys bridges, villages, roads. Tens of thousands of people are already on the run, and this stream is growing all the time. The violence has already killed well over 100 civilians, including in areas far outside the conflict zones,” Minister Maas said.
“in order to stop this suffering, we stand up for two goals in particular. First, it is important to alleviate the very acute need of the local people. The Red Cross, currently the only aid organization with access to the disputed areas, asked the international community for 9 million euros in emergency aid in mid-October. In a first step, Germany will provide 2 million euros so that we can help those who have completely lost their homes, their belongings and their livelihoods. But I say: we are still ready to do more if this is still necessary. I say this above all with a view to the upcoming winter in the Caucasus, which is already threatening to worsen the situation for the people,” the Foreign Minister stated.
Second, he said, an immediate humanitarian ceasefire is all the more important. “Azerbaijan and Armenia must stop the fighting – this is not just our demand, but the demand of the international community – without any preconditions.”
“Both the Chancellor and I have made this very clear to both countries and to other parties involved in this context, such as Turkey. That is also the unanimous message of the United Nations, the OSCE and the European Union to the warring parties. In the United Nations Security Council, we have unanimously called on Armenia and Azerbaijan in recent weeks – this is by no means commonplace in the United Nations Security Council at the moment – to finally keep their arms silent and return to the negotiating table. We thank and support the OSCE, which we believe continues to play the central role of mediator through the Minsk Group,” he added.
He noted, however, that despite all international unity, the conflicting parties are not currently giving in. The humanitarian truces brokered by the co-chairs of the Minsk group France, Russia and the USA were all broken within a very short time, most recently at the beginning of this week.
“We therefore have no choice but to increase international pressure on both parties to the conflict. Azerbaijan and Armenia must finally understand: a military solution to the long-running conflict will not be accepted by the international community. A better negotiating position cannot be achieved on the battlefield. There is no alternative to a ceasefire and starting new talks,” Heiko Maas said.
He added that the humanitarian ceasefire would only be a first step. “But it is ultimately the basic requirement for a lasting, namely a political, solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can finally be achieved. As a member of the Minsk Group, Germany is now ready to finally move forward with the substantial negotiations that are necessary for this and which have apparently not been possible in the past. I also say that Turkey too must live up to its responsibility as a member of the Minsk Group and do its part to finally achieve a peaceful solution.”
“The European Union can and will play an important role in this. Finally, with its Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Eastern Partnership, it has instruments at its disposal to support political negotiations and, later, economic reconstruction in both Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he stated.