Speaker: Lithuanian Seimas devises resolution on peaceful solution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 22 /Trend, E.Ostapenko/

The fate of the resolution on the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, developed by the Lithuanian Seimas, will depend on the efforts of the international community to resolve the conflict, said the Speaker of the Seimas of Lithuania Irena Degutene.

"A large group of Seimas members has registered a draft resolution, which proposes to give up the desire to permanently maintain the status quo achieved with the help of force, but not international law, which contributes to instability in the region," the Speaker told Trend in an interview prior to his visit to Baku in early February.
According to her, the draft resolution encourages the greater involvement of EU in seeking solutions to the question of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, which would create conditions for ensuring the implementation of the rule of international law.

"I think that the fate of the resolution will depend on whether Lithuania, as the chairman of the OSCE in 2011, will see international community's real efforts to resolve this conflict," said Degutene.

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 7 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 the 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.

The Speaker assessed as very dynamic the inter-parliamentary relations between Lithuania and Azerbaijan.

"Established at the Lithuanian Parliament, the group on inter-parliamentary relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan is working very actively, it has a lot of different ideas," said Degutene, noting the need to continuously search for new impulses for development.

Degutene considers it a useful initiative to establish a humanitarian forum, which would cover cooperation between higher schools and think tanks of both countries, a variety of cultural projects.
She said such forum would operate under the auspices of the parliaments, and promote convergence of societies, academic circles, analysts in Lithuania and Azerbaijan.

According to Degutene, the parliaments of Lithuania and Azerbaijan jointly realize the twinning project.

"Although this is a technical and expert project, however, this is also an excellent platform to strengthen political ties, she said. - It is very important that after completion of this joint project, the parliamentary ties between Lithuania and Azerbaijan would not lose the achieved level."

EU Twinning Programme is aimed at providing assistance to neighboring countries in strengthening their administrative and legal capacity to harmonize national legislation with the EU norms. The program for the Parliament of Azerbaijan selected the Lithuanian Parliament as a European partner.
The Speaker's upcoming visit to Baku on Feb. 8-9 will also serve strengthening political ties between Azerbaijan and Lithuania.

"Azerbaijan is a politically and economically independent state with a very solid geopolitical foundations, so during the visit, it will be useful to exchange views and visions on contemporary geopolitical processes in the European security system and specifically in the South Caucasus region," she said.
Lithuania is interested in stronger relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union, said the Speaker, so the question of European integration of Azerbaijan is another very important theme of the visit. "We very much welcome the agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU on energy deliveries," said Degutene.

The key energy agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU was signed in mid-January during European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's visit to Baku. According to the Joint Declaration, Azerbaijan undertakes to supply to the EU significant volumes of gas in the long-term period, while Europe provides them an access to the market.
Declaration was the first written commitment of Azerbaijan to supply gas to Europe, and is an important step in implementing the project of the Southern Gas Corridor.

According to Degutene, her upcoming visit to Baku is also intended to "create more favorable opportunities for the development of Lithuanian business in Azerbaijan, whose economy is now one of the fastest growing in the world."
Speaker will be accompanied by a delegation of Lithuanian businessmen. Degutene said entrepreneurs will consider investment opportunities in Azerbaijan's economy. Also during the visit of Lithuanian delegation, the business circles of Azerbaijan will have an opportunity to learn about the benefits of investments in Lithuania.

"I am convinced that the meetings of the highest-ranking politicians of Lithuania and Azerbaijan are a great opportunity not only to strengthen bilateral political relations, but also to further open the gate for the development of Lithuanian business, said Degutene. - We also hope to interest the leadership and entrepreneurs of Azerbaijan in the projects conducted by Lithuania in different areas, particularly in the energy sector."

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