Former PACE chairman: EU unfamiliar with Nagorno Karabakh
Sweden, Stockholm, Dec. 6 / Trend U. Sadikhova /
The EU needs to get better acquainted with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to become an active participant in resolving the situation, former PACE Political Affairs Commission Chairman Goran Lindbland told Trend today.
The EU should be actively involved in understanding the conflict, he said.
"First, we have to educate our friends in the other EU member countries," Lindbland noted. "Still, there is very little knowledge about the conflict, and some countries and politicians do not know about Nagorno Karabakh and that 20 percent of Azerbaijan is occupied."
Earlier, he headed the Swedish delegation in PACE.
Elnur Aslanov, the head of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration's Political Analysis and Information Support Department, called on the EU to contribute to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and to play a more important role in the settlement process.
"The OSCE Minsk Group deals with resolving the conflict," he said at the Azerbaijani Presidential Center for Strategic Studies. "But we would like the EU to contribute to resolving the problem and to play a more important role in settling the conflict."
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 United States - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
"Therefore, the level of knowledge has to be raised and afterward it is important to try to convince politicians in Brussels on the European level, as well as on the national level in member countries, to be more active toward Russia, toward Armenia and toward Azerbaijan," Lindblad said. "So far, there has been too little interest and I hope that after the Lisbon Treaty there is a possibility for the EU to act."
Although all of the EU member states must adhere to a common foreign policy, in reality, the situation is very different, he said. This provokes new problems.
"In reality, there is very often a separate foreign policy between countries," Lindbland said. "But it should be more coordinated and I hope that the new Lisbon Treaty will help coordination in Europe. It is not enough if only Sweden and a few other countries pay attention to the conflict, we need to have everyone on board. It must be a top priority for all of us."
The Swedish analyst added that Russia has leverage in the conflict.
"It is important for European countries who are OSCE members to try and convince Russia to push Armenia into a constructive dialogue," he said.
The ex-Swedish MP doubts that the OSCE summit in Astana last week and the joint statement adopted by the presidents of the countries party to the conflict - Armenia and Azerbaijan - as well as the heads of the delegations of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, will accelerate the process of conflict settlement.
"It hardly seems that way and I would say that there is a very little contribution from this declaration," h said. "The process has been stalled for a very long time. What really needs to be done is that two countries must launch direct talks and Russia also must be involved. Without serious Russian involvement, it is going to be problematic to find a solution. There is no way to convince the Armenian side to have any kind of compromise unless the Russians have requested it. That is probably the only way."