Letter: British mercenaries for Azeri war

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Azeris have used a steady escalation of military offensives to try to carry out their avowed policy of ethnic cleansing of the small Armenian population from their historic land of Nagorny Karabakh. When, in October 1992, I witnessed the Azeris using cluster bombs against women and children in Karabakh, I asked the British government to urge the Azeris to desist from this gross violation of human rights.

I was told by a very senior person in the Foreign Office that 'no country has an interest in another country, only interests; and we have oil interests in Azerbaijan'. For the first time in my life, I felt deeply ashamed to be British.

Your report (24 January) that the Foreign Office knew about supplies of men and arms to Azerbaijan for their fight against the Armenians, despite a British arms embargo, is deeply disturbing. If substantiated, I will be even more ashamed to know that my children and grandchildren will learn that Britain has been yet again willing to put commercial interests before the protection of fundamental human rights; and has also been willing to support the attempted annihilation of Armenians in their historic land of Nagorny Karabakh.

Surely the Armenians have suffered enough throughout history without Britain adding to their ghastly toll of tragedy.

Yours faithfully,


House of Lords

London, SW1

24 January