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Austria will not abandon the suffering population of Nagorno-Karabakh

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To alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the conflict-ridden Caucasus region, the Federal Government is making EUR 1 million available from the Foreign Disaster Fund.

Following the recent conflict between the two neighbouring countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the humanitarian situation of the people in the region is extremely worrying. Due to the destruction of schools, hospitals, supermarkets and other critical infrastructure facilities, the supply of the local population is severely limited. There is a lack of accommodation, food and sanitary and hygiene products. Austria is therefore providing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with 1 million euros for humanitarian aid on the ground.

Due to the new conflict that has flared up, the region now lacks the most basic necessities and people are suffering massively in this situation. A large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 could bring the situation to tipping point,

warns Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

At the end of September the situation on the ground escalated and led to the most serious confrontations since the end of the conflict between the two neighbouring states of Armenia and Azerbaijan which lasted from 1992 to 1994. According to estimates by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the ongoing fighting has cost the lives of several hundred people on both sides. According to the ICRC, the recent fighting could result in up to 200,000 displaced people.

Austria has condemned the recent escalation of the conflict as well as the influence of external actors and called for a solution at the negotiating table to this conflict which has been lingering for decades.

Vienna has hosted talks between the conflicting parties in the past. If we can contribute to lasting peace in the region, we are always available to do so,

said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

Now that the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh has stopped, intensive political support and humanitarian aid are needed to stabilise the situation. 1 million euros for the strictly neutral International Committee of the Red Cross is important for improving the living situation of the thousands of refugees and displaced people on the ground. The doubling of the Foreign Disaster Fund by the Federal Government makes this important Austrian initiative possible,

Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler concluded.

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