EP Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Inadequate Resolution on South Caucasus

Brussels–The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy has declared inadequate a resolution on the South Caucasus adopted by the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs on December 18.
“The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs has missed an opportunity to bring a positive contribution to conflict resolution in the South Caucasus region,” stated Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation of Justice and Democracy Hilda Tchoboian stated.
“We deeply deplore this turn of events and invite all of the members of the European Parliament to correct these arbitrary choices during the plenary session in January 2008.”
In regards to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the resolution “reiterates its strong support for the Minsk Group” but “regrets the lack of any substantial progress” and calls on the return to their homes of all the internationally displaced persons”. The Parliament “reiterates its respect and support for the territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, as well as of Armenia,” and “notes that the contradiction between the principles of self-determination and territorial integrity contributes to the perpetuation of the conflicts in the South Caucasus region.”
The resolution calls for negotiations on the basis of the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and “condemns attempts to misuse the Kosovo issue in such a way as to create additional hurdles in the negotiations on the conflicts in the South Caucasus”.
“We expected from this resolution a constructive contribution which facilitates the Caucasus’ conflicts resolution,” said Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy. “The Committee on Foreign Affairs has instead confused things and made the settlement incomprehensible.”
“The resolution violates article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations and completely disregards the right to self-determination, which is a prime factor in the stabilization of territorial integrity,” she added.
“It is an unbalanced and unilateral attitude that is 10 years late on the negotiations,” Tchoboian said. “It puts the European Parliament out of step with OSCE, meanwhile the OSCE, in charge of the Karabakh conflict settlement, is entitled to wait for unfailing support from Europe.”
The OSCE, the European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament adopted long ago the 2 principles of “territorial integrity” and of the “right to self-determination” as the basis for Karabakh conflict negotiations.
Referring to Armenia’s efforts, the provisional text "commen’s the internal political and institutional reforms undertaken in the context of implementation of the Neighborhood Policy Action Plan” and “encourages the Armenian authorities to continue on this path and to make further progress in strengthening democratic structures.” The Parliament notes that “the parliamentary elections held in May 2007 were largely in accordance with international commitmen’s and expects that the presidential elections slated for February 19 will be the same.
The resolution also “calls on key actors in the region to play a constructive role in resolving frozen conflicts in the region and to take steps to normalize its relations with neighbors”. The Parliament “calls on the Commission and the Council to address the opening of the Turkish border with Armenia with the framework of accession negotiations”.
The text adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) “reiterates its call upon Turkey to engage in serious and intensive efforts;including a frank and open discussion on past events.” The resolution also calls on the Turkish and Armenian Governmen’s to start the process of reconciliation for the present and the past.
“Unfortunately, we have to read between the lines to understand that the text deals with the Armenian genocide, commented Tchoboian. “It is amazing to see that for the members of the AFET Committee, a genocide deserves only a call for frank and open discussion.”
“Such phraseology, instead of a call for the recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey, inexorably puts the European Parliament in a position, which consists in submitting to Turkey’s deman’s to make the Armenian genocide an absolute taboo in Europe,” she added.
The resolution also welcomes the Baku-Tbilissi-Kars railway. However, the Parliament “stresses that the project bypasses existing and fully operative rail lines in Armenia” and depends on “short-sighted and politically-motivated policies which violate European Neighborhood Policy principles”.
“We all know that the European Union refused to participate in the railway’s financing, precisely because of the objective of both Turkey and Azerbaijan to isolate Armenia and to exclude it from the regional lines of communication. Thus, it is inopportune to welcome this project of exclusion,” declared Tchoboian.
In spite of significant corrections brought by the “compromise amendmen’s” to the initial version, the resolution adopted on the South Caucasus gives rise to worries in respect of the European Union’s role in conflict resolution in the region. Brussels–The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy has declared inadequate a resolution on the South Caucasus adopted by the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs on December 18. “The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs has missed an opportunity to bring a positive contribution to conflict resolution in the South Caucasus region,” stated Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation of Justice and Democracy Hilda Tchoboian stated. “We deeply deplore this turn of events and invite all of the members of the European Parliament to correct these arbitrary choices during the plenary session in January 2008.” In regards to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the resolution “reiterates its strong support for the Minsk Group” but “regrets the lack of any substantial progress” and calls on the return to their homes of all the internationally displaced persons”. The Parliament “reiterates its respect and support for the territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, as well as of Armenia,” and “notes that the contradiction between the principles of self-determination and territorial integrity contributes to the perpetuation of the conflicts in the South Caucasus region.” The resolution calls for negotiations on the basis of the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and “condemns attempts to misuse the Kosovo issue in such a way as to create additional hurdles in the negotiations on the conflicts in the South Caucasus”. “We expected from this resolution a constructive contribution which facilitates the Caucasus’ conflicts resolution,” said Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy. “The Committee on Foreign Affairs has instead confused things and made the settlement incomprehensible.” “The resolution violates article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations and completely disregards the right to self-determination, which is a prime factor in the stabilization of territorial integrity,” she added. “It is an unbalanced and unilateral attitude that is 10 years late on the negotiations,” Tchoboian said. “It puts the European Parliament out of step with OSCE, meanwhile the OSCE, in charge of the Karabakh conflict settlement, is entitled to wait for unfailing support from Europe.” The OSCE, the European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament adopted long ago the 2 principles of “territorial integrity” and of the “right to self-determination” as the basis for Karabakh conflict negotiations. Referring to Armenia’s efforts, the provisional text "commen’s the internal political and institutional reforms undertaken in the context of implementation of the Neighborhood Policy Action Plan” and “encourages the Armenian authorities to continue on this path and to make further progress in strengthening democratic structures.” The Parliament notes that “the parliamentary elections held in May 2007 were largely in accordance with international commitmen’s and expects that the presidential elections slated for February 19 will be the same. The resolution also “calls on key actors in the region to play a constructive role in resolving frozen conflicts in the region and to take steps to normalize its relations with neighbors”. The Parliament “calls on the Commission and the Council to address the opening of the Turkish border with Armenia with the framework of accession negotiations”. The text adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) “reiterates its call upon Turkey to engage in serious and intensive efforts;including a frank and open discussion on past events.” The resolution also calls on the Turkish and Armenian Governmen’s to start the process of reconciliation for the present and the past. “Unfortunately, we have to read between the lines to understand that the text deals with the Armenian genocide, commented Tchoboian. “It is amazing to see that for the members of the AFET Committee, a genocide deserves only a call for frank and open discussion.” “Such phraseology, instead of a call for the recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey, inexorably puts the European Parliament in a position, which consists in submitting to Turkey’s deman’s to make the Armenian genocide an absolute taboo in Europe,” she added. The resolution also welcomes the Baku-Tbilissi-Kars railway. However, the Parliament “stresses that the project bypasses existing and fully operative rail lines in Armenia” and depends on “short-sighted and politically-motivated policies which violate European Neighborhood Policy principles”. “We all know that the European Union refused to participate in the railway’s financing, precisely because of the objective of both Turkey and Azerbaijan to isolate Armenia and to exclude it from the regional lines of communication. Thus, it is inopportune to welcome this project of exclusion,” declared Tchoboian. In spite of significant corrections brought by the “compromise amendmen’s” to the initial version, the resolution adopted on the South Caucasus gives rise to worries in respect of the European Union’s role in conflict resolution in the region.

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