EU Wants ‘Unconditional Access’ to Karabakh

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The European Union has indicated its intention to establish direct contacts with Nagorno-Karabakh in an apparent effort to step up its involvement in international efforts to resolve the conflict.

Meeting in Brussels late on Monday, top foreign policy and defense officials from EU member states also expressed concern at the “slow progress” in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks mediated by the OSCE’s Minsk Group. The officials making up the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council urged Baku and Yerevan to intensify their efforts to agree on the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement proposed by the group.

The Karabakh conflict was among the issues which the council discussed at the meeting devoted to the EU’s growing ties with the three South Caucasus states.

In written “conclusions” released after the meeting, the body headed by Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief, offered “enhanced support for confidence building measures” in the conflict zone. “In this regard, the EU underlines the need for unconditional access for representatives of the EU to Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions,” it said.

Officials in Brussels told RFE/RL last week that the EU specifically wants to have its diplomatic and other representatives visit Karabakh without prior permission from the Azerbaijani government. They said a lack of contacts with the Karabakh Armenians hamper greater EU involvement in the peace process.

Speaking at a news conference before the council meeting, Ashton acknowledged that that the EU is now seeking a “strong and significant role” in that process.

In its statement, the Foreign Affairs Council made clear that the EU would like to act “in support of and in full complementarity with the Minsk Group,” rather than seek to replace it. It said post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction will serve as a “basis for future EU engagement” in Karabakh.

“The EU continues to support the OSCE Minsk Group and acknowledges in this context the efforts of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev to achieve progress in trilateral talks [with Armenia and Azerbaijan,]” reads the statement.

The statement contains more detailed references to the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, reiterating the EU’s “firm support” for Georgia’s sovereignty over the two breakaway regions. But it pointedly stops short of voicing similar support for the restoration of Azerbaijani control of Karabakh.

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7 Comments

  1. Kevork said:

    This is suspicious. EU keep your dirty paws out of Artsakh! For 100 years we saw nothing but backstabbing by Europe.

  2. Viguen Krikoryan said:

    We will start first with your recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey. Artsakh is already free and independent. Do not bother.

  3. Narek said:

    F*** you EU and your imperialistic intentions. Any organization that supports the OSCE Minsk Group and the Protocols has only the intention of controlling that territory and profiting from the bloodshed of Armenians. Why dont you clean up the cockroach infestation in your own countries (cockroaches = turks that have taken over Europe) and then talk about opening access to Karabakh. Pathetic turko-zionist assholes!

  4. gary_s said:

    2 reasons they want to settle this:
    1st, to prevent a conflict that would threaten the oil pipeline in Georgia
    2nd to hopefully get Armenian and Azeribaijan to settle this, so a pipeline could go through Armenia. Georgia is viewed as too unstable

  5. Samuel said:

    Almost 20 years ago Artsakhi peoplle alone stand up against azary invadores, after sufering a lot human losses & destruction ,azaris dfeated & Artsakhi peoplle declared their independence & self governing, The representatives of Artsakh azary & Armenia signed cease fire agreement continue negotiate for lasting peace.During those faithful days azaris brutaly targeted armenian civilians, who had nothing to do with Artsakh dispute, in rhis terror & horror azaris exposed there Barbaric nature, children, old people have been burned alive & the rest forced abondone there belonging and become refugees.Most of the armenians
    expecting someone from outside panish azari leaders,initialy depend on situation they pretend so,but out
    come will clearup petting azari leaders.so armenians must do there own homework, the best panishment
    is residing all of those refugees in Artsakh territory help them build better fututre & a plan for compensation
    Unfortunatly on the Artsakh negotiation case the process has been distorted & violeted by LTP as an
    observing party every week sending his reps.Baku together azary leader make decisions in absence of
    Artsakhi reps.undermining Artsakhis Right Of SelfDetemination,on that days azaris learned undermine the
    Artsakhis demand SelfDetermination donot negotiate or invent an excuse.After LTP kiked off from the office & RK become leader tryed come with Artsakhi reps. azaris executed their new excuse ‘if Armenia with Artsakh reps. comes then azari will bring its refugee reps. otherwie will quit negotiations” RK simply accepted removal of Artsakhi reps.with a little trick.this act lubricated well azari propaganda machin
    “Armenia occupyed Azarbaijan,violation of Azarbaijan integrity, azary refugees& a lot more”so we have
    leaders solving the problems, recently a reporter asked Vartan Oskanian why he take off Artsakh from
    negotiation, replyed because he did not want discontinue the negotiation?
    We need to realize, in such circumstances do not expect anyone will work to alleviate our problems.

  6. Peter Megerdumian said:

    The EU want to get it’s hands on oil in the NKR or may even want to “create peace” so that the NKR is a conduit country for Azeri oil pipelines. The EU has an addiction to Azeri oil.

  7. Peter Megerdumian said:

    The tragedy is that the EU wants to have multiple sources of oil which will create competition and keep oil prices low. I wish the leadership in the EU would be intelligent enough to realize the benefits of building transmediteranean pipelines (pipelines undeneath the ocean) to ship cheap Algerian and Libyan oil to Italy and elsewhere in Europe.

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