2:09 pm - Thursday September 1, 2270

Possible Replacement of France in OSCE Minsk Group Discussed

eu karabakh 300x169 Possible Replacement of France in OSCE Minsk Group DiscussedRegular meeting of the Public Council for the Settlement of the Karabakh Conflict took place in the office of the Azerbaijan National Committee of Helsinki Citizens Assembly (ANC HCA).

The participants discussed the visit of the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton, to the region, as well as assumptions about the possible replacement of France as co-chair in the Minsk Group by the European Union (EU).

According to Eldar Namazov,  such change would provide  Azerbaijan more opportunities “to maneuver,” since many EU countries  unequivocally support the principle of territorial integrity.

In addition, unlike the OSCE, the EU has military resources to form peacekeeping services.

Expert for energy issues Sabit Bagirov, also noted that the EU is more interested than France in energy projects, particularly in the Nabucco gas pipeline.  The Eastern Partnership Program, adopted by the EU, suggests the necessity of peaceful resolution of conflicts for closer integration into a unified, political and economic space.

However, some authorities expressed doubt about the opportunities and the desire of the EU to resolve the Karabakh conflict.

Political authority Zardusht Alizadeh, said that the position of France and other countries, including United States, do not contradict each other. In any case, the major players in the South Caucasus  are not small European countries, they are Russia and the United States.

“None of these countries   is going to end conflicts in the region now,” he said.

The chair of the HCA, Arzu Abdullayeva, noted that six months ago during a debate in Brussels, the question to replace France was not considered seriously.

Among the negative factors of involving the European Union in Minsk group, Abdullayeva noted the complexity of adopting a common decision by 27 countries, and also bureaucracy of EU.

In conclusion, the question was raised  on extension  of the  powers of the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan. The Council wrote a statement expressing concern about the principle of adopting a decision, by which the senators representing the interests of the Armenian lobby, have the right to approve or reject the nomination of the Ambassador to Azerbaijan.

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