EU support Russia in mediation efforts in settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 6 /Trend A.Askerov/
EU support Russia and personally President Dmitri Medvedev's mediation efforts in settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton during a plenary session of European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
Ashton also said about work of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the parties to make progress towards an agreement on the Basic Principles, the first step in a process leading to the drafting of a formal peace agreement.
According to her, the Deauville statement of Presidents Obama, Medvedev and Sarkozy made clear that the time had come for an agreement, failing which the parties' commitment to a solution would be questioned.
"Relations between the two countries are difficult. The Co-Chairs keep me and the EEAS fully informed of their work and the many difficulties they face" - said Ashton.
According to her, the parties need to redouble their efforts to find an agreement before the end of this year.
Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia discussed in Kazan the basic principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement. The meeting, which was the ninth in the last three years, ended without reaching an agreement on the basic principles of settlement. In a joint statement, the sides mentioned the progress towards this goal.
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 the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.