EU must engage for peaceful solution in Nagorno-Karabakh

The European Parliament debated the current crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday evening (12 April). In the context of the debate Green MEPs called for a renewed push to ensure a peaceful solution of the issue in the context of stalled international negotiations via the OSCE and urged the EU to proactively engage to this end. Green MEPs Heidi Hautala, Ulrike Lunacek and Tamas Meszerics outline the Green position.

The only way to prevent a new outbreak of war and de-escalate the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is to stop the military build-up in the region. Recently, the region has become one of the most heavily armed parts of the world, thanks mainly to the Russian supplies of modern weapons to both sides. The defence budgets of both Armenia and Azerbaijan have kept increasing in spite of the poor economic situation in the countries.

The best way to achieve this de-escalation is to deploy a robust UN peace-keeping mission around the line of contact. The goal should be to ensure a demilitarisation of the area and the withdrawal of all heavy armaments.

There is a need to renew efforts to agree a diplomatic solution via the Minsk Group of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Both parties should develop and agree to an incident prevention and investigation mechanism to address all the eventual violations.

The EU should be to the fore in pushing for this. Both countries are members of the EU’s Eastern Partnership and the EU clearly has a direct responsibility for trying to ensure a peaceful solution of this crisis.

Both parties agree that most of the conflict area belong to Azerbaijan (the 7 provinces surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh). Armenia, therefore, should return most of the occupied provinces to Azerbaijan within a period. At the same time the OSCE Minsk Group presidency should relaunch the negotiations on the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Instead of exchanging accusations against each other regarding alleged war crimes, Armenia and Azerbaijan should sign and ratify the Rome statute on the International Criminal Court. Armenia has signed but not ratified; Azerbaijan neither signed nor ratified.

The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights of 16 June on the case of ‘Chiragov and others vs Armenia’ made Armenia accountable for property violations in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia should stop pretending that has no direct responsibility for what happened.

The EU should apply the same approach to all the conflicts in the Eastern Partnership countries to avoid double standards.

Greens/EFA press release 12.4.2016