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European Parliament resolution on the need for an EU strategy for the South Caucasus (2009/2216(INI))

May 20, 2010.

  1. Reaffirms that the EU’s main objective in the region is to encourage the development of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia towards open, peaceful, stable and democratic countries, ready to establish good neighbourly relations and able to transform the South Caucasus into a region of sustainable peace, stability and prosperity, with a view to enhancing the integration of these countries in European policies; considers that the EU needs to play an increasingly active political role to achieve this objective, by developing a strategy that would combine its soft power with a firm approach, in agreement with the countries of the region and complemented by bilateral policies;

Security issues and peaceful resolution of conflicts

  1. Emphasises that retaining the status quo in the conflicts in the region is unacceptable and unsus­tainable, since it bears the constant risk of an escalation of tensions and a resumption of armed hostilities; considers that all sides should actively engage to achieve stability and peace; advocates the use of cross-border programmes and dialogue among civil societies as tools for conflict transformation and confidence-building across the division lines; underlines that the EU has an important role to play in contributing to the culture of dialogue in the region and in ensuring the implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000);
  2. Notes that conflict management and conflict resolution as well as basic dialogue necessitate inter alia recognition of the rights and legitimate interests of all relevant parties and communities, openness to review perceptions of past events and reach a common understanding of past events, willingness to overcome hatred and fear, preparedness to compromise over maximalist positions, abandon revanchist attitudes and readiness to discuss real concessions, in order to be able to consolidate stability and prosperity;
  3. Points to the importance of conflict prevention, including through respect for the rights of all members of national minorities, religious tolerance and efforts to strengthen social and economic cohesion;
  4. Stresses the responsibility of external actors to use their power and influence in ways that are fully consistent with international law, including human rights law; believes that further and balanced coop­eration between external actors in the region should be pursued to contribute to achieving peaceful settlement of conflicts; considers it unacceptable for any external actors to introduce conditions for the respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the South Caucasus states;

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

  1. Welcomes the dynamic pace of the negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict illustrated by the six meetings between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan held over the course of 2009 in the spirit of the Moscow Declaration; calls on the parties to intensify their peace talk efforts for the purpose of a settlement in the coming months, to show a more constructive attitude and to abandon preferences to perpetuate the status quo created by force and with no international legitimacy, creating in this way instability and prolonging the suffering of the war-affected populations; condemns the idea of a military solution and the heavy consequences of military force already used, and calls on both parties to avoid any further breaches of the 1994 ceasefire;
  2. Fully supports the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group, the Basic Principles contained in the Madrid Document and the statement by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries on 10 July 2009 on the margins of the G8 Summit in L’Aquila; calls on the international community to show courage and political will to assist in overcoming the remaining sticking points which hinder an agreement;
  3. Is seriously concerned that hundreds of thousands of refugees and IDPs who fled their homes during or in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh war remain displaced and denied their rights, including the right to return, property rights and the right to personal security; calls on all parties to unambiguously and unconditionally recognise these rights, the need for their prompt realisation and for a prompt solution to this problem that respects the principles of international law; demands, in this regard, the withdrawal of Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan, accompanied by deployment of international forces to be organised with respect of the UN Charter in order to provide the necessary security guarantees in a period of transition, which will ensure the security of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh and allow the displaced persons to return to their homes and further conflicts caused by homelessness to be prevented; calls on the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities and leaders of relevant communities to demonstrate their commitment to the creation of peaceful inter-ethnic relations through practical preparations for the return of displaced persons; considers that the situation of the IDPs and refugees should be dealt with according to international standards, including with regard to the recent PACE Recommendation 1877(2009), ‘Europe’s forgotten people: protecting the human rights of long-term displaced persons’;
  4. Stresses that real efforts are needed to pave the way for a lasting peace; asks all relevant authorities to avoid provocative policies and rhetoric, inflammatory statements and manipulation of history; calls on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to act responsibly, tone down speeches and prepare the ground, so that public opinion accepts and fully understands the benefits of a comprehensive settlement;
  5. Believes the position according to which Nagorno-Karabakh includes all occupied Azerbaijani lands surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh should rapidly be abandoned; notes that an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh could offer a solution until the final status is determined and that it could create a transitional framework for peaceful coexistence and cooperation of Armenian and Azerbaijani populations in the region;
  6. Stresses that security for all is an indispensable element of any settlement; recognises the importance of adequate peacekeeping arrangements in line with international human rights standards that involve both military and civilian aspects; calls on the Council to explore the possibility of supporting the peace process with Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions, including sending a large monitoring mission on the ground that could facilitate the establishment of an international peacekeeping force, once a political solution is found.