Azerbaijan enforces the U.N. Resolutions of 1993, as civilian death toll continues to climb

"Group photo of the OSCE PA’s Bureau at the Plenary Session of OSCE PA Annual Session in Minsk, 9 July 2017" by oscepa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Minsk Group has been the constant mediator of the conflict since the 1990s.

By | Rachel Brooks

October 21, 2020

Civilian death tolls rose to 63 on Wednesday as fighting persisted in the densely populated area of Azerbaijan. In addition to death, 292 civilians were reported injured. Among the civilian casualties were six children. Livestock was also killed, and agriculture was destroyed. There were 1,981 houses and 90 multi-apartment residential buildings, as well as 386 civilian operated facilities damaged in recent shelling events, citing AzerNews on October 21. The areas of hostilities were described as generally targeting populated areas, with no specific emphasis. 

As the general targeting continues, Reuters reported that the Prime Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan had spoken with the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, who held private talks with each official. Neither official believes the conflict can now be resolved with diplomacy. Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan explicitly stated that “the Karabakh question” could “not have a diplomatic solution.” Reuters reported this as having placed a damper on international hopes that U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo will have successful mediation in his talks with each prime minister scheduled for Friday. 

Reuters reports that Azerbaijan has reiterated its main condition of a ceasefire. Armenia must withdraw from the Nagorno-Karabakh, as per the ordinance of the U.N. Security Council in the final hours of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resurgence in the 1990s. The Armenian Prime Minister refused these terms, stating that Azerbaijan’s motive was to make “a land grab” citing Reuters. 

Trend News agency also reported on October 21 that Azerbaijani forces are implementing the UN Security Council resolutions relevant to the conflict. Azerbaijan is currently enforcing the terms of Resolution No. 874 which was drafted on October 14, 1993. The No. 874 resolution dictated that Armenia was to withdraw armed forces from the areas it had occupied shortly before the resolution was drafted. These key areas included Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli, and other districts that were occupied after the U.N. resolutions that preceded the No. 874 Resolution were already in place.  

Other resolutions proceeding No.874 were No. 853 of July 1993 and No. 822 of April 1993. The No. 874 resolution was followed by Resolution 844 on November 12, 1993. The archive of these resolutions is available at the United States Department of State Archive. 

The text of Resolution 874 proceeds in its entirety as follows: 

RESOLUTION 874 (1993)

Adopted by the Security Council at its 3292nd meeting, on 14 October 1993

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its resolutions 822 (1993) of 30 April 1993 and 853 (1993) of 29 July 1993, and recalling the statement read by the President of the Council, on behalf of the Council, on 18 August 1993 (S/26326),

Having considered the letter dated 1 October 1993 from the Chairman of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Minsk Conference on Nagorny Karabakh addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/26522),

Expressing its serious concern that a continuation of the conflict in and around the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Azerbaijani Republic, and of the tensions between the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijani Republic, would endanger peace and security in the region,

Taking note of the high-level meetings which took place in Moscow on 8 October 1993 and expressing the hope that they will contribute to the improvement of the situation and the peaceful settlement of the conflict,

Reaffirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Azerbaijani Republic and of all other States in the region,

Reaffirming also the inviolability of international borders and the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory,

Expressing once again its grave concern at the human suffering the conflict has caused and at the serious humanitarian emergency in the region and expressing, in particular, its grave concern at the displacement of large numbers of civilians in the Azerbaijani Republic,

  1. Calls upon the parties concerned to make effective and permanent the cease-fire established as a result of the direct contacts undertaken with the assistance of the Government of the Russian Federation in support of the CSCE Minsk Group;
  2. Reiterates again its full support for the peace process being pursued within the framework of the CSCE, and for the tireless efforts of the CSCE Minsk Group;
  3. Welcomes and commends to the parties the Adjusted timetable of urgent steps to implement Security Council resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993) set out on 28 September 1993 at the meeting of the CSCE Minsk Group and submitted to the parties concerned by the Chairman of the Group with the full support of nine other members of the Group, and calls on the parties to accept it;
  4. Expresses the conviction that all other pending questions arising from the conflict and not directly addressed in the adjusted timetable should be settled expeditiously through peaceful negotiations in the context of the
  5. CSCE Minsk process;
  6. Calls for the immediate implementation of the reciprocal and urgent steps provided for in the CSCE Minsk Group’s Adjusted timetable, including the withdrawal of forces from recently occupied territories and the removal of all obstacles to communications and transportation;
  7. Calls also for an early convening of the CSCE Minsk Conference for the purpose of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the conflict as provided for in the timetable, in conformity with the 24 March 1992 mandate of the CSCE Council of Ministers;
  8. Requests the Secretary-General to respond favourably to an invitation to send a representative to attend the CSCE Minsk Conference and to provide all possible assistance for the substantive negotiations that will
  9. follow the opening of the Conference;
  10. Supports the monitoring mission developed by the CSCE;
  11. Calls on all parties to refrain from all violations of international humanitarian law and renews its call in resolutions 822 (1993) and 853 (1993) for unimpeded access for international humanitarian relief efforts in all
  12. areas affected by the conflict;
  13. Urges all States in the region to refrain from any hostile acts and from any interference or intervention which would lead to the widening of the conflict and undermine peace and security in the region;
  14. Requests the Secretary-General and relevant international agencies to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the affected civilian population and to assist refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in security and dignity;
  15. Requests also the Secretary-General, the Chairman-in-Office of the CSCE and the Chairman of the CSCE Minsk Conference to continue to report to the Council on the progress of the Minsk process and on all aspects of the situation on the ground, and on present and future cooperation between the CSCE and the United Nations in this regard;
  16. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

 The world now looks on in wonder at how the talks with State Secretary Mike Pompeo will impact the process of enforcing these resolutions, and the possibility of drafting new ones to end the 2020 conflict.