The European Parliament has accused Azerbaijan of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” against the Armenian population in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, urging the European Union to impose sanctions on Baku. This accusation comes in light of the nearly 120,000 Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh who fled the separatist region following Azerbaijan’s swift takeover in a surprise attack last month. European lawmakers have gone so far as to declare that the current situation amounts to ethnic cleansing, condemning the threats and violence committed by Azerbaijani forces.
In response, they’ve called on EU member states to impose “targeted sanctions on individuals within the Azerbaijani government” in light of the attack and allegations of human rights violations in Nagorno-Karabakh. The lawmakers have also urged Brussels to reconsider its reliance on Azerbaijani gas exports and called for a review of its relations with the country.
On the other hand, a counselor to the Azerbaijani president announced on Thursday that Baku is prepared to engage in talks with Armenia under the auspices of the European Union. This statement comes despite Azerbaijan’s absence from the European Political Group’s summit in Spain, where the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is set to be discussed. The presidential adviser, Hikmet Hajiyev, stated on the X platform that “Azerbaijan is ready to participate soon in Brussels in trilateral meetings between the European Union, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.” He also condemned France’s “militarization policy” in the South Caucasus, which led his country to decline participation in the Granada summit.
While the decision approved by 491 legislators against nine in the European Parliament does not require immediate action, it has irked Baku, which vehemently denies allegations of ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have openly called for staying and “reintegration” into Azerbaijan. European diplomats have indicated that imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan is not currently on the table, with potential measures being considered only if the situation escalates further.
As the European Union has increased its natural gas imports from Azerbaijan, distancing itself from Russia since the Ukraine crisis, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains a sensitive issue in EU-Azerbaijan relations.