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Azerbaijan to allow UN experts to visit Karabakh ‘in a matter of days’

Nearly 90,000 out of an estimated 120,000 ethnic Armenians have fled Karabakh following Azerbaijan’s lightning military offensive. (AP pic)

BAKU: Azerbaijan intends to allow a group of experts from the United Nations to visit the Karabakh region “in a matter of days”, the office of a presidential advisor said today.

Media will also have a chance to visit Karabakh, it said, as the number of ethnic Armenians fleeing the region following Azerbaijan’s lightning military offensive there reached nearly 90,000, out of an estimated population of 120,000.

The US and others have called on Baku to allow international monitors into Karabakh, amid concerns about possible human rights abuses. Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of ethnic cleansing in Karabakh, something Baku strongly denies.

Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev said that the rights of Karabakh’s Armenians would be fully respected but that his “iron fist” had consigned the idea of an independent ethnic Armenian Karabakh to history.

Aliyev told US secretary of state Antony Blinken in a phone call on Tuesday that his forces had targeted only “military facilities…during the anti-terror measures, which lasted less than 24 hours, and civilians were not harmed”, according to a statement from the Azerbaijani president’s office.