Cyprus Mail

UN mission arrives in Nagorno-Karabakh as ethnic Armenian exodus nears end

file photo: refugees from nagorno karabakh arrive in kornidzor
FILE PHOTO: Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh region ride in a truck upon their arrival at the border village of Kornidzor, Armenia, September 27, 2023. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY/File Photo

A United Nations mission arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday, Azerbaijani media reported, as a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians from the region began drawing to a close following a Azerbaijani military offensive last month.

The mission, led by a senior U.N. aid official, is the global body’s first access to the region in about 30 years.

Armenia has asked the World Court to order Azerbaijan to withdraw all its troops from civilian establishments in Nagorno-Karabakh and give the United Nations access.

The World Court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, in February ordered Azerbaijan to ensure free movement through an area known as the Lachin corridor leading to and from the region.

The process of moving those wishing to relocate from Nagorno-Karabakh to neighbouring Armenia is coming to an end, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the Armenian government as saying late on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, the World Health Organisation said well over 100,000 ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh have made the journey in less than a week.

“We’ve activated our emergency systems and will be sending experts to the country across a range of disciplines including mental health, burns management, essential health services, and emergency coordination following a full assessment of the needs,” Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, regional director of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, said in a statement.

“The challenges are truly enormous, and we’re there to do all we can.”

The departure of hungry and exhausted Armenian families this week was blighted by an explosion at a fuel depot that killed at least 170 people.

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