Enlarge image

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 17th October

Photo: Frederick Florin / dpa

It has been a month since the long-simmering conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated. As a result of Azerbaijan's military offensive in mid-September, tens of thousands of Armenians fled the Caucasus region. Now Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed hope that a peace agreement could be reached soon.

Depending on the outcome of the talks between the two countries, "the conclusion of a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan before the end of the year is very realistic," Pashinyan told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday. A meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is planned for October in Brussels.

EU as a "key partner" for Armenia

Pashinyan again accused Azerbaijan of "ethnic cleansing" of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is now ethnically cleansed," he told MEPs in Strasbourg. 100,000 people have fled to Armenia as a result of the Azerbaijani attack. Pashinyan asked for "continued support and attention" to the humanitarian situation in his country.

He described the EU as a "key partner" for democracy in Armenia. For the European states, the country is a "decisive partner" in the region east of the EU, said EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola. Europe stands by Armenia and will continue to work for a peace agreement with Azerbaijan, she said in Strasbourg.

Most of the population fled to Armenia

The European Parliament had condemned Azerbaijan's attack in a resolution at the beginning of October and called for sanctions against Baku. After talks with Pashinyan on the sidelines of the informal EU summit in Granada, EU Council President Charles Michel announced talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Brussels in October.

Baku launched a military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19, and pro-Armenian fighters surrendered just one day later. A large majority of the estimated 120,000 inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh fled to Armenia as a result of the Azerbaijani army operation. Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan under international law, but until now it has been predominantly inhabited by ethnic Armenians.