ANC Europe Denounces EU Declaration Against Karabakh

BRUSSELS–The European Armenian Federation has voiced the disappointment of Europe’s Armenian communities regarding the recent declaration by the new Danish Presidency of the European Union (EU) on the presidential elections of Nagorno Karabakh.

In an August 2nd declaration–the Presidency of the European Union expressed its support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan–stating that it did not recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh and emphasizing that it did not consider the presidential elections scheduled to take place on August 11 as legitimate.

The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (ANC-Europe) denounced this declaration in an August 5th letter addressed to the Presidency of the European Union Council and to the President of the European Commission–Romano Prodi. The letter states–in part:

"We regret this unilateral declaration which reinforces the intransigence of Azerbaijani leaders–and supports attempts by President Aliev to weaken the mediating role of the OSCE Minsk Group," stated Hilda Tchoboian–Chairperson of the Federation.

The letter goes on to note that: "… the [OSCE] negotiators had agreed on a fundamental principle that the constant reaffirmation of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan–and the Karabakh people’s right to self-determination–led inevitably to an impasse–because both principles are equally important under International Law… As such–[the EU statemen’s] dangerously disturb… the balance that the Minsk Group is attempting to maintain between the sides as it works to attain a peaceful solution."

"By systematically refusing the proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group–Azerbaijan is attempting to discredit this international authority and replace it with one that is more favorable to its intransigent position," continued the Federation letter. "We note with regret that the unilateral declaration of the European Union’s new presidency weakens the Minsk Group’s international standing and undermines the search for peace."

Responding to the EU declaration–Tchoboian–stressed that–"Beyond our extreme disappointment at seeing the European presidency approach this sensitive issue so simplistically–we denounce this step as contradicting past European Parliament resolutions adopted just as the first pogroms against Armenia’s in Karabagh and in Azerbaijan began in the late 1980s."

"In addition–it is unusual to see an international authority [the EU] acting alone where the international community has authorized another entity–in this case the OSCE–to mediate a conflict. It would be judicious for the Union’s presidency to officially restate its confidence in the OSCE Minsk Group with a new declaration," added Tchoboian. "The European Armenian Federation–and European Armenia’s in general–consider the Karabakh elections to be an additional testament of the will of the Karabakh people to build a democracy and strengthen civil society."

"At a time when the Council of Europe is scrutinizing Azerbaijan’s worsening human rights record–the International community should more fully appreciate the reasons why Karabakh decided to break from Azerbaijan’s violent grip and enter the modern age as a free society," concluded the president of the Federation.

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