Crisis Expert Wants to Replace French Co-Chair with EU Rep.

BAKU (Trend)–International Crisis Group Europe Program Director Sabine Freizer believes it would be expedient to replace France by an EU representative in the OSCE Minsk Group dealing with settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

"I believe that the EU can play a greater role in assisting to reduce tensions in and around Nagorno Karabakh. When the chairmanship of the current French representative ends, I would recommend that the French Minsk Group position be handed over to an EU representative," Freizer said.

Ideally the three representatives in the Minsk Group should be high level political officials if we expect that they are going to have any political influence over the process, according to her.

"But on the other hand, it makes no sense to expect that a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is going to come from the outside. Azerbaijan and Armenia–their political leadership and their people–will eventually need to agree to a compromise. This will only happen when they come to the conclusion that compromise is better than more fighting," she said.

"I still believe that the current formula on the table is the best one possible: return of seven occupied districts to Nagorno-Karabakh, full withdrawal by forces from Armenia, refugee/IDP return to all areas including Nagorno-Karabakh, normalization of the situation, determination of Karabakh’s ultimate status postponed until all people can participate fully in a democratic process. Once withdrawal begins and refugee return starts the deadlock in the negotiations process will be broken and tensions diminish," said Freizer, Trend Azeri news agency reported.

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