Statement on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh

As delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 28 September 2023.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Norway has aligned itself with the statement made by the delegation of the EU. Allow me some comments in my national capacity.

Let me start by reiterating Norwegian concerns about the development in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. Over the last week, the humanitarian situation for Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh has gone from bad to worse. It is a tragedy to see so many of them leaving their ancestral lands behind in fear of what might come if they stay.

Norway condemns Azerbaijan´s military action which caused this flow of refugees to Armenia. Not only defence installations, but also critical infrastructure and civilian houses were shelled. There are many casualties and food is still in scarce supply. Military action must not resume, humanitarian aid must be brought to, and given access to, those in distress, and there must be freedom of movement for civilians.

In order to have an objective picture of humanitarian needs and the human rights situation, an international observer mission is required. Norway would be ready to support any such efforts, through the OSCE or other organisations. Solving disputes through the use of force instead of diplomacy is never a good solution. In Karabakh, a bad precedent has been set, which does not bode well for the future.

In this context I would like to reaffirm Norway´s support to Armenia´s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

We respect Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also expect Baku to take on the responsibility this entails. A heavy burden now rests on Azerbaijan to ensure the security of their Armenian population, and for the over all peaceful development in the region.

Thank you