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Situationen i #Nagorno-Karabach: Uttalande av EU:s höga representant Federica Mogherini

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Federica Mogherini“Madam President, let me start by saying I am very glad that we are having this debate tonight. The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was probably the centre of my talks both in Armenia and Azerbaijan when I was visiting those countries last month. When I was looking at the last time this issue was discussed in plenary, I saw that it was in 2011, so I am really glad that this Parliament is addressing it for the first time in plenary.

“It is going to be very helpful and useful, because events in Nagorno-Karabakh are another reminder of how dangerous a protracted conflict can be.  Just days before the latest and unprecedented escalation, we had cautioned that the status quo was unsustainable. From a tense situation to large-scale hostilities can be a very short step. For this reason, we are increasing our efforts towards a settlement of the conflict. It has already inflicted too much suffering.

“It continues to pose a threat to regional security in our neighbourhood, and it is an obstacle towards the development of both countries and of the entire region.  The South Caucuses is a crucial region for Europe. It lies at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It holds a huge potential for growth, but such a potential is held back by instability and war, and again this came out very clearly in my recent talks in both capitals.

“A large-scale conflict is not in the interests of anyone and can lead nowhere.  This conflict hinders the development and the stability of the two countries and of their neighbours, as well as the rapprochement with the European Union. As you know, at the beginning of April, the violence surged to a level that was unprecedented since the ceasefire agreement in 1994.

“We have all seen reports about the use of heavy weapons and the large numbers of casualties, including among the civilian population. Statements from Baku and Yerevan make it clear that there are serious dangers if the situation is not quickly calmed.  Immediately, on 2 April, I called on the parties to stop the fighting and observe the ceasefire, to show restraint and avoid any further actions or statements that could result in escalation. I have reiterated my support for the OSCE Minsk Group and the three co-chairs as the internationally-agreed format for the settlement of this conflict.

“The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Herbert Salber, made immediate contact with the parties and kept these contacts regularly. I myself had separate constructive conversations with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and of Azerbaijan. I will stay in contact with them in the coming days and in the coming weeks, and our Special Representative is visiting the region this week. Let me add that I hope that you can contribute to our efforts with your own parliamentary contacts.

“As you know, I believe very much in parliamentary diplomacy, both with your fellow parliamentarians but also with civil society organisations.  We all know the way ahead. The escalation makes it even clearer that the conflict does not have a military solution. Developments on the ground demand that we stay vigilant and continue to insist on the strict observance of the ceasefire and on moving forward in the peace process.

Annons

“In particular, the targeting of civilians must stop. But obviously we cannot settle for the status quo. A political solution is what is needed, and our political goal must be that the sides resume negotiations on a comprehensive settlement of the conflict. The Minsk Group and its co-chairs are there to further mediate, and the EU has supported a settlement on the basis of the Madrid Principles proposed by the co-chairs. But ultimately we know well that the solution is in the hands of the parties to this conflict. They need to be ready to make meaningful compromises towards peace.

“In parallel with observing the ceasefire and engaging in negotiations, it is necessary to create an environment that is conducive to progress. Actions and statements which could further complicate the already complex environment have to stop.  The European Union fully supports measures that can help, for instance, with the repatriation of the bodies of dead soldiers to their families. I am encouraged by the mechanism that has been put in place in recent days by the ICRC and the OSCE. We will also need new efforts that can accompany the political process. These include enhanced security measures, such as the OSCE-proposed mechanism for investigation into the ceasefire violations. This is a mechanism the European Union has endorsed.

“The EU – complementing the efforts of the Minsk Group co-chairs – has for several years now supported activities that facilitate peaceful contacts between people across the conflict divide. Today this work is more important than ever. The conflict settlement will also continue to be part of the EU’s contacts and dialogue with Armenia and Azerbaijan, as partner countries, as well as with key international stakeholders. As I said, this was at the centre of our talks when I visited both countries a month ago.

“After this tragic outburst of violence, talking about negotiations and trust might sound out of place. It is not. Actually, it is the only rational thing to do. The alternative to negotiations would be more death and more destruction. Everyone now understands that the status quo can only lead to more violence, and this is exactly what happened. Let us not underestimate the dangers of this conflict, and let us turn the current situation into an opportunity for peace.”

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