PACE Committee Spells Out Steps to Peaceful Settlement of Mountainous Karabagh Conflict

STRASBOURG–A Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) report made public on Monday spells out a series of steps Armenia and Azerbaijan could take to fulfill their commitment to peacefully settle the Mountainous Karabagh conflict.

In a draft resolution adopted at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday–PACE’s Political Affairs Committee expressed concern at the creation of "mono-ethnic areas which resemble the terrible concept of ethnic cleansing," and reaffirmed the right of displaced persons from the area of conflict to return to their homes safely and in a dignified manner.

The committee called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to submit constructive proposals for the peaceful settlement of the conflict via the OSCE Minsk Group–which should conduct speedy negotiations. If these fail–the parties should consider using the UN’s International Court of Justice–the parliamentarians said.

Meanwhile–the Council of Europe should offer the conflicting states experts to help determine Mountainous Karabagh’s political status. Both countries pledged to use only peaceful means to settle the conflict when they joined the organization in January 2001.

The committee also condemned the expression of hatred propagated through media–and called for a Council of Europe action plan for mutual reconciliation involving the media–schools–and universities–as well as contacts between locally elected representatives.

It is proposed that the report be debated by the Assembly at its next plenary session in Strasbourg to be held on January 24-28–2005.

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