10:56 am - Saturday September 20, 2014

German MPs issue paper on Karabakh

Bundestagsfraktion 300x225 German MPs issue paper on KarabakhForeign policy working group of Germany’s CDU/CSU Bundestagsfraktion issued a position paper on Nagorno Karabakh conflict, The European Azerbaijan Society reports.

The position paper entitled “20 years of conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh: a new impulse for a peaceful conflict resolution” reads:

“In 1992, following repeated ethnically motivated outbreaks of violence between Armenians and Azeris, the conflict over NK lead to massive refugee flows and caused ten thousands of deaths among Armenian and Azerbaijani troops. In 1993, the Armenian forces managed to take up the Western corridor between Armenia and NK. The Azerbaijani territories East and South of the former autonomous territory of NK also came under Armenian control.

Approximately 25 000 people died in this war and about 1 million where ousted out of their homes and had to flee. Following the war over NK, Armenian forces not only occupy NK itself (approx. 5% of Azerbaijani territory) but also the 7 surrounding Azerbaijani territories. The UN Security Council has condemned the military occupation of parts of the Azerbaijani national territory in 1993. Today approx. 20% of the Azerbaijani territory is under Armenian control.

The international community sees NK as an integral part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In this context, it is Germany’s as well as the EU’s position to support a permanent and peaceful resolution of the conflict. Neither Germany nor the EU has recognized the 2010 parliamentary elections in NK.

Already since the conflict erupted in 1992, the OSCE-Minsk Group is in charge of finding a peaceful resolution to this frozen conflict. Despite 20 years of mediation attempts, the efforts to overcome the status quo have remained unfruitful. Armed incidents at the ceasefire line (established in 1994) regularly cause the dead of innocent people. Not later than in October 2011, 2 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed close-by the ceasefire line during an exchange of fire. Early in March 2011, Armenian snipers killed a 9-year old Azerbaijani child shooting directly at him through the ceasefire line. During an incident in June 2010, 4 Armenian soldiers and 1 Azerbaijani soldier were killed.

Such incidents, along with the occupation of NK, are in breach with international law commitments. According to the Art. 2 §3 and 4 of the UN Charta, all the members are obliged to settle their international conflicts through peaceful means so as to not endanger world peace, international security and justice. All UN member states have to refrain from violating the territorial integrity or the political independence of another country. They also have to refrain from using any kind threats or violence in breach with the goals of the UN.

By now, the conflict is so serious that the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against any travel to NK. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot give consular help or support to travellers going to NK.

An arms race is at work in the entire region. Military expenses in Armenia and Azerbaijan have constantly increased in the past years. In Azerbaijan, the defence expenditures make up for about 20% of the entire state budget. In August 2010, Armenia signed an agreement with Russia for an increased military cooperation. Russia runs several military bases in Armenia.

The region plays a growing role for European energy supply. One of the explicit key objectives of the EU’s energy policy is to diversify and secure gas imports to the EU in the long run through agreements with Azerbaijan.

The 20th anniversary of the conflict gives the opportunity to rethink the conflict resolution process as it has been carried out until now and give it a new impetus. A peaceful resolution and the normalisation of relations would have direct positive impact on economic and societal developments in the region. The members of the working group on foreign policy of the CDU/CSU-Fraktion hence prompt the federal government to:

1. dedicate an increased attention to the conflict over NK, jointly with our friends in the OSCE, NATO and the UN. At all discussions and bilateral meetings between the parties at conflict, the following has to be underlined: need for political compromise, need for a peaceful settlement, need for security guarantees for the populations living at the ceasefire line and need for the restoration of mutual trust;
2. request a stronger role for the EU in the conflict resolution process and work towards the replacement of France in the MG by the EU and also provide the EU special representative for the SC with a clear mediation mandate among the parties at conflict;
3. in the framework of the EaP, everything has to be done to allow political and economic rapprochement between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the regional conflict resolution has to be considered as a keystone of the EaP;
4. motivate our partner Russia, key country in the resolution of the NK conflict, to engage in a more constructive role so as to overcome the status quo, stop the arms race and aim for a permanent resolution of the conflict;
5. similar to the “Meseberg-Memorandum” with regards to the conflict over Transdniestria, the immediate deepening of EU-Russia security policy dialogue has to be put forward;
6. motivate the EU-candidate Turkey to normalize its relations with Armenia as this would allow Russian troop to withdraw from Armenia (e.g. the Russian troops securing the boarder with Turkey) and hence centrally contribute to the decrease of the arms race in the South Caucasus in the middle run.
7. support Turkey to play a more constructive role in the conflict resolution and do justice to its responsibility in the region”, APA reports.

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