By Vafa Ismayilova
European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič has said that the EU has allocated 3 million euros in humanitarian aid to assist civilians affected by the 44-day hostilities in and around Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region in 2020.
"The [European] Commission has announced today 3 million euros in humanitarian aid to assist those affected by the recent large scale hostilities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, including a significant number of displaced people. Since the beginning of the hostilities in September 2020, the EU has mobilised a total of 6.9 million euros in humanitarian assistance," Lenarčič said in a press release of the European Commission on February 18.
The European official added that following the cessation of hostilities, "the humanitarian crisis in the region remains dire and is currently exacerbated by the harsh winter and the coronavirus pandemic. The EU is stepping up its support for the conflict-affected population in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. It will help provide emergency supplies to those most in need".
The newly announced emergency support will help EU humanitarian partners to deliver food, shelter, winter items and other basic needs, as well as essential health services and psychosocial support to the affected population. All EU humanitarian funding is provided in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, the report added.
The press release noted that the recent military confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which raged unabated for six weeks, has caused casualties, damages and displacement.
"The fighting pushed hundreds of thousands to flee their homes for safety. Houses and public infrastructures such as schools, health system, roads, utilities and communication networks, were badly damaged," it said, adding that International Humanitarian Law violation included the targeting of civilian infrastructure and the use of banned cluster munitions.
Despite the ceasefire agreement struck between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 9 November 2020, the humanitarian situation remains of concern. The coronavirus pandemic and cold temperature further worsen the situation. The EU is in close contact with humanitarian partners and other stakeholders on the ground to support the coordination of the humanitarian response, the press release concluded.
During the war, losing on the battlefield, Armenia resorted to vicious attacks against Azerbaijani civilians, killing 100 Azerbaijani civilians, including 12 children, and wounding over 400 by targeted missile attacks on major Azerbaijani cities outside of the war zone, using even widely banned cluster munitions. International human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also verified the use of banned cluster bombs and rockets by Armenia in its attacks against Azerbaijani cities.
On November 10, Baku and Yerevan signed a Moscow-brokered deal that brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
On January 11, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed the second statement since the end of the 44-day war. The newly-signed statement is set to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region.
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