Anton Friesen: "Nagorno-Karabakh should be part of Azerbaijan"

Bundestag MP considers the principle of territorial integrity a priority
Bundestag MP considers the principle of territorial integrity a priority

Germany's Alumniportal Aserbaidschan published an interview with member of the AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag Anton Friesen AserbaidschaDie bestmögliche Lösung für den Bergkarabach-Konflikt wäre, wenn die Region als Bestandteil ns bleibt.” – Dr. Anton Friesen, MdB. Vestnik Kavkaza presents a translation of the interview.

- On the issue of resolving the conflict in Ukraine, your party takes a critical stand on Western sanctions and advocates for closer cooperation with Moscow. Will cooperation between the EU and Russia resolve the crisis? How do you think that plays out?

- The Ukrainian conflict escalated precisely because Russian interests have not been taken into account by the European Union from the very beginning when discussing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. We believe that it was a fundamental mistake, and we are developing measures to bring peace to Europe. We have been advocating a treaty on common European security, as was recently proposed by [French President Emmanuel] Macron, who probably incorporated our idea. We want the agreement to spell out the basic conditions of relations, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and the fact that no alliance can expand at the expense of the other. We want to create a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union. We want to strengthen civil, public dialogue between our countries, including between Ukraine, Russia and Germany. This should begin at the grass-roots level - student and youth exchanges, moreover, these exchanges should be facilitated. In the case of security policy, the establishment of a free trade zone and youth exchanges, there will be good opportunities for resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

- The conflict of principles of self-determination of peoples and the territorial integrity of states still remains a stumbling block. Which principle is more important to you?

- For me personally, territorial integrity is more important than the principle of self-determination. Our party's foreign policy concept is also built on this. We attach great importance to stability. Stability can only be guaranteed within the framework of territorial integrity, and not when states are collapsing and separatist processes are taking place. The right to self-determination only works if there are truly serious human rights violations, including genocide. But in general, I would always give priority to territorial integrity, and this also applies to Nagorno-Karabakh.

- The Nagorno-Karabakh region is recognized by international law as the territory of Azerbaijan. However, together with the seven adjusting areas, it has been occupied by Armenia for 25 years. What is your position on this issue?

- I can’t speak for our entire party, but I think the best solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is Nagorno-Karabakh being part of Azerbaijan. Of course, while ensuring the cultural and religious rights of the Armenians. This is possible if several powers simultaneously act as guarantors. Russia, Turkey and other countries must guarantee relevant obligations and continue their implementation. Good relations between Russia and Turkey can play a positive, constructive role in resolving conflicts in the region, especially the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

- What do you think of the EU Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership program?

- Recently, we celebrated the anniversary of the Eastern Partnership, hearings concerning this issue were held in the Bundestag. The thing is that the 'Eastern Partnership' is not targeted at some group or a specific country. It should have an individual approach to each country. Another drawback of the program is that Russia was not involved in it. And finally, the Eastern Partnership countries are more interested in economic development, rather than in promoting, for example, gender projects. In our opinion, it makes little sense and does not correspond to the interests of the respective states.