UN to send first humanitarian mission to Nagorno-Karabakh in 30 years

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The United Nations will send a mission to Nagorno-Karabakh for the first time in about 30 years, scrambling to address humanitarian needs after Azerbaijan retook the territory and triggered a major refugee exodus, a spokesman said Friday.

“The government of Azerbaijan and the UN have agreed on a mission to the region. The mission will take place over the weekend,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.


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Last week Azerbaijan’s forces took control of the self-declared state in the mainly ethnic Armenian enclave, prompting residents to flee and stirring fears of ethnic cleansing.

Over the years Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

“We haven’t had access to there about 30 years,” said Dujarric, due to the “very complicated and delicate geopolitical situation.”

“So it’s very important that we will be able to get in,” he continued, adding that the mission would do so by air from Azerbaijan.

A team of about a dozen people led by the UN’s humanitarian affairs department will assess the needs of people who have remained in the territory and those who are on the move, he added.

“And of course, it bears reminding of the need for everyone to respect international law and especially international human rights law,” he said.

Dujarric added that the UN is working with the government of Armenia to deal with the flood of refugees leaving the territory.

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