Respect for self-determination key to resolving Nagorno Karabakh conflict
EFA MEPs call for immediate ceasefire, de-escalation and talks
EFA MEPs have called for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno Karabakh.
The European Parliament held a debate on the issue with the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
EFA MEPs Jordi Solé and François Alfonsi spoke in the debate and also called for recognition and respect for the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to self-determination, whilst raising the possibility of EU sanctions for the aggressors in the conflict.
Speaking in the plenary debate, President of the EFA Group in the European Parliament, Jordi Solé MEP said:
"Nearly three decades of diplomatic efforts haven't been enough to end a conflict which is taking a big toll in human lives. Now we are confronted with the risk of a fully-fledged war in the South Caucasus with the dangerous involvement of external actors.
"We have to call upon all sides for an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation. All sides have to resume talks under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group without preconditions and everyone in the region and beyond should be working to foster peace instead of escalating the situation.
"However, I also call for the need to recognise and respect the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, for the need to uphold the democratic will and choices already made several times. This is not only a territorial issue. Disregard for the right to self-determination is at the root of too many conflicts. Without respecting the democratic will of the people of Artsakh, I am afraid that there can hardly be a viable and fair way out of this conflict."
François Alfonsi MEP said:
"The aggression of the Azerbaijan army and its Turkish ally against the Armenian people of Nagorno Karabakh should alert and mobilise us. The Armenian people experienced the very worst during the 1915 genocide, suffered a half century of Soviet domination and since the fall of the Berlin wall they aspire towards freedom and democracy.
"Nagorno Karabakh is an example of democracy in this part of the world. It has a thousand year old culture which is threatened by its neighbour. Europe is directly concerned because the rise in power of dictatorial and authoritarian regimes at its borders will end up as a threat to Europe itself.
"Europe has the means to persuade the aggressor to back down by implementing heavy economic sanctions. Just as Europe acted to defend the interests of Cyprus and Greece in the Mediterranean, so must it act with Baku and Ankara to come to the aid of the Armenian people who today find themselves under threat."