Azerbaijan, Baku, 24 July/ Trend , E. Babayev/ The Azerbaijani delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is opposing passing Bill on Alternative Military Service.
"This Bill must be discussed in Milli Majlis. If some MPs insist on passing this Bill, some terms will be set forth for it to take effect, that is, the alternative military service will not be introduced in Azerbaijan unless the occupied lands of Azerbaijan are freed," Gultakin Hajiyeva, member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE and MP said to Trend on 24 July.
Azerbaijan undertook several obligations in 2001when it was admitted to the Council of Europe. One of them is to pass a Bill on Alternative Military Service. At present, the parliament is developing this Bill.
According to Hajiyeva, Azerbaijan has fulfilled all obligations before the Council of Europe excluding the Bill on Alternative Military Service. "There are reasonable grounds in this regard. About 20% of the Azerbaijani lands have been occupied. There is no need to pass this Bill which creates conditions to deviate from the military service," Hajiyeva said.
The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost the Nagorno-Karabakh, except of Shusha and Khojali, in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian Armed Forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and Nagorno-Karabakh's seven surrounding regions. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful, but fruitless negotiations.