Council of Europe secretary general candidate calls Nagorno-Karabakh settlement priority for future activity (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted at 15:59)

Strasbourg, France, Jan. 27

By Azer Maharramli - Trend:

In case of being elected secretary general of the Council of Europe, the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be one of the priority issues, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Jean-Claude Mignon said on Monday.

Mignon made the remarks at his last press conference as the PACE president. The press conference was held as part of the organization's winter session.

"One of the priorities will be the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict's settlement if I am elected secretary general of the Council of Europe. This conflict must be solved. This can not continue. This does not correspond to the spirit of the charter, signed in 1949 by the organization," Mignon said.

The winter session of the PACE kicked off on Jan. 27.

"Of course, I could not implement a lot of things. Two years pass very quickly. One of the priorities during my chairmanship was to achieve at least some progress in resolving the frozen conflicts. An example of this is the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I achieved the creation of a dialogue between the two countries' delegations in PACE. I welcome the constructive attitude of the chairmen of the two countries' delegations in the PACE and parliamentarians of both countries. I believe they got some messages. I also did not restore the activity of the Subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh, because there is the OSCE Minsk Group, which works well," he said.

Over 2013 the OSCE was chaired by Ukraine, which has demonstrated excellent work, he said.

The OSCE chairmanship today goes to Switzerland and then Serbia, Mignon said.

"I believe that there is a sequence in this issue. My contacts with the Minsk Group, including with the co-chair Jacques Faure, meetings in Baku and Yerevan with the presidents and foreign ministers of the two countries with regard to the Madrid principles contributed, albeit slowly, to progress. This may happen slower than we would like, but today there is dialogue within the assembly. We believe we need to continue this," he said.

Mignon expressed a desire to achieve more progress also in the Transnistrian issue.

"The meetings on this issue planned for early December last year in Odessa, were postponed due to the events in Ukraine. I tried to achieve progress on other issues. Cyprus, the Russian-Georgian issue can not be solved in one day. There is a parliamentary diplomacy for this. Events need to be understood, something I was trying to do during those two years," he 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 per cent 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.

Translated by E.A.

Edited by C.N.

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