STRASBOURG (Combined Sources)—The Armenian and Azeri delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) met Wednesday with PACE President Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss the revival of a failed PACE subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The meeting came two days after Cavusoglu, who is a member of the Turkish parliament, confirmed at a press conference that he was devising a plan to reestablish a PACE subcommittee on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
According to Armenian PACE delegate Armen Rustamian, the Armenian and Azeri sides agreed that no structure established by the PACE could substitute the OSCE Minsk Group format.
“We oppose the creation of any platform that might grow into a new stage for propaganda, thus further aggravating the strained relations,” said Rustamian, who chairs Armenia’s Parliamentary Foreign Relations committee and heads the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s (ARF) Supreme Council in Armenia.
In the talks with Cavusoglu, Rustamian said, the Armenian delegates “questioned whether any PACE format with no experience and institutional capacity could play a role in the conflict settlement.”
According to Rustamian, the Azeri deputies showed “willingness to continue cooperation” within the Minsk Group format. He said Baku should echo the position of its PACE delegates.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Cavusoglu sought to make a case for his proposed Karabakh committee by citing a 2005 PACE resolution dealing with the conflict. “I may say that one of the best options for a solution lies in respect for PACE Resolution №1416 passed in 2005. This is a very well-prepared document and realization of this resolution by both sides will bring peace and stability to Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as to the entire region,” he said.
Cavusoglu said the resolution called for the PACE Bureau to create an ad hoc committee on the Karabakh conflict, which stopped work after the death of its chairman, Lord Russell-Johnston, in July 2008.
Speaking to News.am Wednesday, ARF Political Director Giro Manoyan criticized Cavusoglu’s plans and warned that any attempt to address the conflict within PACE will unravel more than a decade of diplomacy by the Minsk Group and be detrimental to the entire peace process.
Manoyan stressed that Armenia should oppose “the consideration of the Karabakh conflict by any other agency than the OSCE Minsk Group.” He said that the impression in Armenia is that Azerbaijan and Turkey are using PACE to derail the peace initiative.
“Each international agency has its powers and responsibility. The OSCE is the coordinator of security issues in the region,” he added. “Shifting the issue from the OSCE to another agency is unacceptable.”
“If PACE seeks to have a role in the Karabakh peace process, it can do so within its mandate, raising issues on democracy and human rights,” Manoyan said. “If PACE has something to say on the matter, let it say and send an observer to NKR elections.”
On June 21, PACE President Mevlut Cavusoglu met with the Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations and discussed the re-establishment of the PACE Subcommittee on Nagorno-Karabakh