European Commissioner and MEPs Call for More Active EU Role in Nagorno-Karabakh Settlement

European Commissioner and MEPs Call for More Active EU Role in Nagorno-Karabakh Settlement
# 18 September 2012 14:18 (UTC +04:00)
Baku –APA. Numerous Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) commented during the debate and adoption of a Joint Resolution on the Ramil Safarov case in the European Parliament’s (EP) Plenary session on 13 September. The debate focused on the case of Ramil Safarov, a member of the Azerbaijani armed forces, who was recently transferred from Hungary to Azerbaijan after serving a prison sentence for the murder of an Armenian officer. There was concern amongst some MEPs that political actors and Armenia were using the debate to divert attention from the realities of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the ongoing humanitarian plight of 875,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

Several MEPs underlined that the extradition of Mr Safarov was carried out in accordance with international and Azerbaijani law, and that his transfer was in line with the Strasbourg Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons of 1983. Kriistina Ojuland (ALDE, Estonia) added: “The ALDE Group in the EP decided not to sign the resolution on the case of Ramil Safarov, since the Azerbaijani authorities have not violated international law. Unfortunately, this event has aggravated the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and hindered progress towards resolution of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.” Ms Ojuland added: “The absence of any results after 20 years of work indicates that the OSCE Minsk Group needs a reshuffle. In order to find a balance in the whole negotiation process, the French Co-Chair should be replaced by the EU, which has an historic chance to resolve this ‘frozen’ conflict.”

Hungarian and Socialist MEP Edith Herczog underlined that: “The extradition of Ramil Safarov is a legal act between two sovereign governments, […based on] mutual responsibility and confidence.” Norica Nicolai, Liberal MEP from Romania stressed that: “The proposed ‘urgency resolution’ cannot be considered under rule 122 of the EP since it is not a rule of law matter…it is not a Human Rights issue.” She added that there had been a partisan approach in the EP’s debate regarding the case “that runs the risk of making the region even more unstable, whereas the EU ought to be playing a stronger role, that’s why the Liberal Group has withdrawn from this resolution.”

The debate also highlighted the ongoing volatility and tensions in the South Caucasus and the differences in opinion on this matter amongst many MEPs.

In this regard, Austrian MEP Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/ALE) pointed out that she “acknowledges the frustration in Azerbaijan about the lack of substantial progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.”

Czech MEP Jiri Mastalka (Confederal Group of the United Left/Nordic left) urged the EP and the EU to “get more involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

Finally, according to European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou: “The handling of this case has the potential to further complicate the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as potentially the Eastern partnership agenda….the EU does not see and would absolutely reject any alternative to peaceful conflict settlement. The Safarov case should not be used by anyone to deviate from this.”
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