Senate of Australia once again supports territorial integrity of Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 6
The Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Committee of the Senate of Australia (the Upper House of the Australian Parliament) held hearings on the foreign and defense policy of Canberra, the Senate said in a statement released June 6.
During the hearings, a number of issues were discussed, including Australia's position on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
During the hearings, Senator Lee Rhiannon, a member of the Green Party, was asked about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The senator, referring to the statement of the Minister of International Development and the Pacific Concetta Fierravanti-Wells that "Australia strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including Azerbaijan's position on Nagorno-Karabakh", asked, whether this complies with the fundamental principles of the OSCE Minsk Process.
Answering the question, Catherine Raper, Head of Europe and Latin America Engagement at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, once again confirmed that support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as well as the non-recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state is a long-term policy of the Australian Government. She also noted that Canberra supports the activities of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The statement of the Senate of Australia on this issue led to serious discontent of the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.