Turkey's top EU official urges French politicians to secure return of occupied Azerbaijani territories

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 7 April 2011 02:30 (UTC +04:00)

Turkey's chief European Union negotiator has urged French lawmakers to take action to ward off discussion of a so-called 'Armenian genocide' bill over the events of 1915 on the French Senate floor, Anadolu Agency reported.

"Politicians cannot assume the role of historians," Egemen Bagis told Wednesday a group of French lawmakers in a meeting at the French National Assembly.

Bagis recalled that a group of French socialist lawmakers had moved to bring the bill to the Senate floor, warning that the two countries already had "disagreements" in their bilateral relations.

"The duty of the politicians is not to define the past but to make contributions to help shape the future. The approval of the bill would cast a permanent shadow over Turkish-French relations," he said.

Bagis said Turkey had offered Armenia to open archives and set up a committee of historians and scientists who would study the issue, adding that the Yerevan government had failed to respond to Ankara's proposal.

Bagis also urged French lawmakers to actively get involved in talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a settlement to their dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"As the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk group, French politicians are expected to make moves to secure the return of occupied Azeri territories and help one million Azeri refugees to get back to their homes," Bagis 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 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.