Skip to main content

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Humanitarian Support

Volume 738: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2023

7. What steps his Department is taking to help ensure that humanitarian support reaches people affected by the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. (906663)

Following the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh last month, the Government called for an end to the violence, direct talks between parties to the conflict and urgent humanitarian access. We have provided £1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross to meet humanitarian needs, and of course the UN has had access to the region. We encourage Azerbaijan to continue co-operation in that regard.

I thank the Minister for his answer, and I refer the House to my role as vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Azerbaijan. What support are the UK Government and British companies providing in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan to help to clear the landmines laid by Armenian forces, as well as to support the reconstruction of the towns and communities that were destroyed and looted during the occupation?

My hon. Friend speaks with great knowledge on this subject, and I am pleased to confirm that the UK is continuing to assess humanitarian needs in the region, including in relation to de-mining in Armenia and Azerbaijan. We have provided £1 million to the UN development programme since 2020 to aid de-mining efforts in both Armenia and Azerbaijan, and our embassy in Baku has had discussions with the Azerbaijani Government on reconstruction and reintegration of the region.

While unspeakable horrors unfold in Israel and Palestine, we must not forget other conflicts around the world in which crimes against humanity have been committed against innocent civilians. Following Azerbaijan’s military intervention in Nagorno-Karabakh, almost all of the ethnic Armenian population has been forced to flee. With more than 100,000 people displaced, and reports that as few as 50 but a maximum of 1,000 remain in the region, does the Minister agree that it bears the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing?

I do not agree, but I should say that we have urged both sides to resume dialogue. Talks will be the basis of a sustainable peace. I have made that point to Foreign Ministers from both countries in recent weeks. I will make that point again when I travel to both countries in the coming weeks.