EU Special Representative for South Caucasus refuses to comment on Khojali events

EU Special Representative for South Caucasus refuses to comment on Khojali events
# 20 February 2007 17:40 (UTC +04:00)
Peter Semneby said that his visit aimed at getting acquainted with current situation of media and living conditions of refuges in Azerbaijan.
“During the meetings with officials we discussed the Action Plan in the frame of European New Neighborhood Policy and negotiations in the frame work of OSCE Minsk Group,� EU special representative added.
Peter Semneby did not touch the issue on improvement of election legislation in Azerbaijan during his meetings with officials.
“One of the main issues to ensure democracy of the elections is freedom of media, and we have discussed this issue with officials. Azerbaijan is in transition period, and reforms are not implemented within a day. Special institutions and necessary conditions should be established for the journalist to improve their education. EU attaches special interest to this issue. I hope we will be able to see positive result soon,� he said.
Semneby said that though some problems concerning media have been solved but some of them have been left.
“It is necessary to use the experience of some other countries in this sphere,� he said.
Special representative also commented on the amount of financial assistance by the EU to the South Caucasus.
“Azerbaijan received less financial assistance than Armenia and Georgia, because Azerbaijan has high profitable energy resources. €100mln will be allocated to Azerbaijan within next three years�, he said.
Touching upon the last statement of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Peter Semneby noted the EU supports Minsk Group. He said he is sorry for Nagorno Karabakh conflict not to be settled up to now. He also noted that he supports any agreement reached by the parties.
“We should try for the confidence between the people. There should be relations with Nagorno Karabakh. I mean both Azeri and Armenian community in Nagorno Karabakh. Armenians and Azerbaijanis have been neighbors for hundreds of years and it still continues. It is very abnormal that they don’t live in peace for many years. The issue should be solved soon�, he said.
Peter Semneby declined the question on Khojali genocide committed 15 years ago.
“I don’t characterize the events in Khojali as a tragedy or genocide. Genocide is a very important issue. I don’t want to comment on this issue. I met the disabled persons and those who lost their relatives in Khojali during the visit in Sabirabad. Of course, it is a big tragedy. All refugees should return their motherland. They have been waiting for this for 15 years. I support government’s establishing settlements for IDPs�, he noted. /APA/