PACE Co-rapporteur to Visit South Caucasus

Britain, London 11 April / Trend corr. G.Ahmadova / Edward O'Hara, rapporteur of the PACE Subcommittee on the Cultural Heritage on South Caucasus, hopes to visit the region which was postponed for two years due to disputes in the region. "I hope to pay a visit to the region soon," O'Hara stated to Trend .

Since the summer of 2006, Edward O'Hara had been planning to visit Armenia and Azerbaijan. The visit was postponed due to the disagreements regarding the route of the visit to the Azerbaijani occupied territories. Azerbaijan felt that it was possible for the visit by the PACE co-Rapporteur to Nagorno-Karabakh to be made only via the Azerbaijani territory. However, Armenia stated that Baku is not in a position to give permission to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) of Azerbaijan, where Armenian historical monuments are destroyed.

The agreement on the visit route will be part of a planned visit to the region, O'Hara stated. I hope that we will manage to progress during the meeting with both conflicting countries within the framework of the PACE spring session in Strasburg, added O'Hara.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988, due to the Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, the Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven neighboring districts. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement which ended the active hostilities. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding the peaceful negotiations.

According to official statements from Baku, Armenians destroyed the Azerbaijani cultural and historical monuments in Armenia and occupied the territories. Azerbaijan demands that O'Hara personally visits Armenia and the Azerbaijani occupied territories.

O'Hara's visit to the region is arranged through PACE Committee on Science, Education and Culture.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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