Martin Schulz: we need to put end to Karabakh's occupation
Armenia should withdraw from the occupied Azerbaijani territories, the head of the European Parliament Martin Schulz wrote in response to the appeal of the Assembly of the World Azerbaijanis (AAM) in connection with the April aggravation of the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
The letter was addressed to the head of the initiative group of the Assembly, Rashad Guliyev.
"During these events on April 3rd, I expressed concern over the violation of the ceasefire. On April 12 the Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, was allowed to hold a debate at the plenary session of the European Parliament on this issue," 1news.az cited Schulz as saying.
"Those events, unfortunately, demonstrate that the status quo is unacceptable. It increases the risk of resumption of military operations. Armenia must withdraw from the occupied territories, including areas adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh, and refugees should be allowed to return there on the basis of international security guarantees," Schultz stressed.
The leading expert of the North-South Political Science Center, Alexander Karavaev, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the European Parliament's move reflects the desire of the international mediators in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to move from statements to practical measures, outlined in the Madrid principles. Active connection to the European Union in this process is to be welcomed, he said.
"Of course, there was the official diplomatic activity as well, but to a greater extent the European Union has always been a negotiating platform for meetings. There are no new settlement mechanisms that would radically change the picture of the conflict, but it would be enough for the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs to present a unified position at all the levels, not just at the level of the leaders. Although the EU is not represented in the OSCE Minsk group directly, the European Commission is an important player in the South Caucasus as a whole, as well as the European Parliament," Alexander Karavaev pointed out.
"The European Parliament is playing its role, being a status platform, uniting the Armenian and Azerbaijani parliamentarians, but so far it has been used more as a platform for various demarches than for a practical discussion of settlement measures. If all these separate areas of the European diplomacy, including the diplomacy of Russia and the United States, work in the same vein, it would certainly play a positive role in the development of the settlement," the expert concluded.
According to a political scientist Rovshan Ibragimov, a change in the European Parliament's position, which was significantly influenced by the Armenian lobby, shows positive results of the Azerbaijani diplomacy's work to bring the truth about the situation in the conflict zone. "As a result, people in the European structures began to understand the situation with the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories better. In addition, the change of the status quo during April battles for Karabakh also have an influence," he said.
"According to international law, it is important that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be settled within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. It is worth noting that recently the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev stressed once again that the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh are citizens of Azerbaijan and in the case of settlement of the conflict they will continue to coexist there, like other Azerbaijani citizens," the expert pointed out.
At the same time, he added that we can hardly expect a serious intensification of European institutions in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict outside the OSCE Minsk Group. "With the exception of the OSCE, it is unlikely that any European organization would be actively involved in resolving the conflict. They have a rather passive attitude towards this, moreover, they have repeatedly expressed support of the mediation mission of the OSCE Minsk Group in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Rovshan Ibrahimov reminded.