European Parliament’s Representative Suggests Removing France from OSCE Minsk Group
Azerbaijan, Baku / Т corr I. Alizadeh / European Parliament's special representative on the South Caucasus issues, Isler Beguin, suggests replacing France with EU in the OSCE Minsk Group. He made the suggestion during the hearings on the South Caucasus at the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Relations.
"EU needs to play a more active role in the settlement of the conflicts in South Caucasus, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict included," Beguin said.
The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 as a result of territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven neighbouring regions. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement when the active hostilities ended.
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful negotiations.
"I am French, but I think France's mandate in the OSCE Minsk Group should be transferred to the EU," he said. In his opinion, thus EU will be able to regulate the conflict on a high level.
The EU representative mentioned that the Turkish-Armenian border is closed and this intensifies the problem.
Azerbaijan is playing an excusive role in Europe's energy security, Piter Semneby, EU's special representative on South Caucasus, said at the hearings. He clarified the activities of the EU regarding Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to him, EU is working in accordance with the action plan dedicated mainly to restoration of relationships between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities.
European Parliament's special representative on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Lydia Polfer, expressed her concern about two issues. " Armenia is not involved into Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and other region projects. That can make the country instable for a long time. Moreover, Azerbaijan's expanding its military budget will complicate the situation in the region," she said.
Any conflict is specific and requires an individual approach, the deputy chairman of the European Parliament on South Caucasus, Slovakian MP Duka Zolyomi said. According to him, Russia in many cases plays the role of a force destabilizing situation in the region. He also noted that Kosovo cannot serve a precedent for other conflicts and Russia's position can destabilize the situation in the region.
Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and its nearby regions in 1992-94, the MP of the European Parliament from German Socialistic Party, Vural Oger, said. He urged EU should take an unambiguous position. Azerbaijan is important for Europe's energy policy and not only with its energy resources, Oger said.
Armenian Foreign Minister, Vardan Oskanyan, will speak at the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Relations on 9 October.