EDITOR's NOTE: photos added
Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 20 / Trend E. Ostapenko /
Europe should intensify joint efforts to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the British State Minister for European Affairs David Lidington believes.
"The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is of great concern to the EU. We can make joint efforts to support the process of resolving this conflict more active," Lidington said today addressing the Azerbaijan University of Languages speaking on Azerbaijan's role in Europe.
Great Britain and its partners in the EU are interested in assisting Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, he said.
According to Lidington, recent armed incidents on the contact line also concerns Europe.
"The UK continues supporting the OSCE Minsk Group's efforts to assist the conflict sides to find peaceful and sustainable resolution of the conflict, and we will further support them," Lidington said.
He believes that the EU can offer more, particularly to more clearly define how it can assist Azerbaijan and Armenia after reaching the final decision [on conflict resolution].
"My visit to Baku aims at evaluating the directions in what the UK and the EU can provide effective assistance," Lidington said.
According to Lidington, the common security is one of the reasons why the UK strives for close partnership with Azerbaijan. The UK supports Azerbaijan's choice to integrate into the European and Euro-Atlantic organizations, because all that is happening in EU neighboring countries directly impact the EU, he said.
"The development of stable, safe, democratic societies in these countries help to strengthen the EU itself," Lidington said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent 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 OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding negotiations to resolve the dispute.
Armenia has failed to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions stipulating the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.