Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.21
By Sabina Ahmedova - Trend:
As an OSCE participating state and as the country currently holding the EU Presidency, Greece fully supports the Minsk Group's efforts to mediate the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute through a solution that is acceptable to both of the parties concerned in the dispute, Evangelos Venizelos, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Greece, which presides over the EU Council in the first half of this year, said in an interview with Trend on Jan.21.
The peaceful resolution of disputes is a fundamental principle of Greek foreign policy, and it is also a European principle, Evangelos Venizelos said, adding that this means resolutions that respect international law and national sovereignty.
The European Union has a special interest in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, and this interest was reflected in the appointment of a European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for the Southern Caucasus, the minister said.
"In this context, the EUSR can act in a supporting and complementary role to the OSCE Minsk Group to defuse tension and create an environment conducive to progress towards resolution of the dispute," Venizelos said.
The minister went on to say that within both the OSCE and the EU, Greece pursues its role as an honest and impartial facilitator backing all initiatives aimed at resolution of the dispute.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the THE OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.