STRASBOURG—During a hearing on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict Wednesday at the European Parliament, members deplored Azerbaijan’s continued use of military threats and urged an end such rhetoric.
In a report presented to members of the European Parliament, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said “any effort to resolve the conflict or influence the negotiations by using force, or even the threat of force,” was unacceptable to the European Union.
Member of the European Parliament, Charles Tannock voiced his concern about Azerbaijan’s growing military threats, saying, “Azerbaijan is using her petrodollars to buy armaments and make bellicose announcements”
Another European Parliament member, Eleni Theocharous, echoed Tannock’s concern by pointing out that “Azerbaijan instead of development and progress of her people, is buying weaponry. Of course Armenia will follow suit.”
“If the Karaebakh movement was starting now, we would all support it just like we are doing now with the Arab Spring. These people have the right to rise against oppression, they do not want to be like Nakhichevan, where there is no trace of the Armenian population,” added Theocharous.
Ashton also said the “peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a key strategic interest of the European Union,” adding that the settlement of the conflict would transform the South Caucasus region, it would pave the way towards political and regional stability, and new economic opportunities.
“Efforts to find an agreement on the Basic Principles must continue, and I welcome the fact that both parties have re-committed themselves to the diplomatic process and to finding a peaceful solution,” added Ashton.
“But we need to see more than that in the coming months. The parties need to redouble their efforts to find an agreement before the end of this year. This would then happen before domestic priorities take over in 2012: elections in Armenia in 2012, and in Azerbaijan in 2013,” she said.
“The EU is ready and committed to step up its efforts in support of the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The nature of the additional support that we can provide is of course a matter for consultation with the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and the parties. And I can assure you that we are holding regular consultations with them on this subject,” Ashton said, adding that “our most important contribution, will be to continue strengthen our bilateral relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.”