EU Unable to Decide Karabakh Status, Says Crisis Expert

Sabine Freizer

BAKU (Today.az)–In an interview Thursday with Azeri news site Today.az, Sabina Freizer, head of the program of the International Crisis Group on Europe, said that European Union states did not have a coordinated opinion on whether Karabakh should be part of Azerbaijan or an independent republic.

“It is difficult for the EU member-states to play serious role in the resolution of the conflict, as they do not have a single coordinated opinion on whether Nagorno Karabakh should be part of Azerbaijan or it should be an independent state,” said Freizer.

“EU member-states recognize territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, which does not mean, however, that they are against ensuring right of Nagorno Karabakh residents for definition of their future status," added Freizer.

“The main differences are related to the possible status of Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia insists on inclusion of the possible independence of Nagorno Karabakh into the basic principles, which Azerbaijan is against. I think that definition of the status of Nagorno Karabakh should be put off until the time, when mutual trust between Azeris and Armenia’s is restored,” explained the crisis expert.

“EU may play even greater role in search of ways for the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Presently, EU is represented in the OSCE Minsk Group by France but EU special representative could fulfill observation functions, especially during direct talks of the parties. Special representation of the EU and European Commission can also work out special projects, aimed at maintenance of the atmosphere of trust inside and around Nagorno Karabakh conflict, like in the conflict area in Georgia. Yet, the possibility that EU will take the side of one of the parties is low,” added Freizer.

“The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs do not mind if EU played greater role in the resolution of the conflict. Ambassador Bernard Fassier regularly informs EU member-states about the achievemen’s in the negotiation process. The role of the EU special representation is gradually growing. Though, frankly speaking, I doubt that most EU member-states want to take an active part in the said process and replace OSCE Minsk Group. They are satisfied with the current format of talks. Expansion of the UN role in the resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict is possible but existence of two parallel mediators or two parallel negotiation processes will not help the solution,” said the European expert.

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