Bishops asks aboujt conflict, peace, reconstruction in Nagorno Karabakh

On 2nd and 3rd December 2020 the Bishops of St Albans, Coventry, Southwark and Leeds received written answers to seven questions about armed conflict, peace, reconstruction and religious and cultural sites in Nagorno Karabakh:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from the Armenian diaspora about (1) the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and (2) the ceasefire agreement brokered by the government of Russia. [HL10643]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK Government has received several representations from representatives of the Armenian diaspora in the UK regarding the conflict and the ceasefire agreement.


The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what humanitarian aid they intend to provide in the Nagorno-Karabakh region following the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement. [HL10640]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: On 30 October the Foreign Secretary announced £1 million in funding to the ICRC to support their humanitarian efforts in the region.
We are working with international partners and NGOs to understand needs in the region and what further support we can provide. The UK Government is supporting the wider international response by providing funding for additional monitoring and analysis of the humanitarian situation through organisations such as the Humanitarian 2 Humanitarian network and supporting additional posts within the UN offices in-country.

We continue to urge both sides to ensure the safety and security of all displaced persons, including through recent calls between the Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas and the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers. The UK Government is keeping the situation under close review, coordinating with local and international partners and will continue to explore opportunities to support partners to deliver an effective international response.


The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the vulnerability of religious and cultural sites in the Nagorno-Karabakh region; and what representations, if any, they have they made to UNESCO for the protection of these sites. [HL10584]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK Government is concerned by reports that both sides in the recent conflict have desecrated and destroyed cultural heritage sites. We have not made an assessment of the vulnerability of religious and cultural sites in Nagorno-Karabakh but have urged both parties to respect the cultural heritage of the region. We support UNESCO’s efforts to assess the impact of fighting on sites of cultural significance.

The Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas has been in regular contact with the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers since the outbreak of hostilities in September. The Minister welcomed the news of the peace deal. She noted that a peaceful settlement was essential to securing the stability of the region; this included the protection of all cultural heritage sites. The British Ambassador to Azerbaijan also raised this issue with representatives of the Presidential Administration on 17 November.


The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the Azerbaijan-Armenia ceasefire brokered by the government of Russia on 9 November, and (2) the prospects for a more long-term peace settlement in the region. [HL10582]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK Government welcomes the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas has been in regular contact with the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers since the outbreak of hostilities in September, where she has urged engagement with the OSCE Minsk Group to ensure a sustainable, long-term, peaceful settlement.


The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to assist with (1) demining, and (2) reconstruction, efforts in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. [HL10583]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: On 30 October the Foreign Secretary announced £1 million in funding to the ICRC to support their humanitarian efforts in the region. We are working with international partners and NGOs to understand needs in the region and what further support we can provide. The UK Government is supporting the wider international response by providing funding to additional monitoring and analysis of the humanitarian situation through organisations such as the Humanitarian 2 Humanitarian network and supporting additional posts within the UN offices in-country.
We continue to urge both sides to ensure the safety and security of all displaced persons, including through recent calls between the Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas and the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers. The UK Government is keeping the situation under close review, coordinating with local and international partners and will continue to explore opportunities to support partners to deliver an effective international response.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the opportunities to secure a peace treaty over the disputed territories between Armenia and Azerbaijan following the recent ceasefire agreement. [HL10619]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK Government welcomes the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas has been in regular contact with the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers since the outbreak of hostilities in September, where she has urged engagement with the OSCE Minsk Group to ensure a sustainable, long-term, peaceful settlement.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the future of democracy in Armenia following (1) the conflict, and (2) the increased Russian military presence, in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. [HL10489]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: We have not made an assessment of the impact of the recent conflict on the future of democracy in Armenia.
The UK Government continues to support the development of a stable, open and prosperous Armenia, including by using the Good Governance Fund to provide support in the areas of democracy and human rights.

The UK Government understands that the Russian military is playing a role in Nagorno-Karabakh to end the recent hostilities, as agreed with the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan. However, it is important that Armenia and Azerbaijan remain the key actors in ensuring that a sustainable peace deal is reached, under the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group process.