04/04/2016 – Brussels
The bloody on going incidents which erupted along the frontiers of Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh on the 2nd April 2016, represent developments that can lead to a wider conflict within the Caucasus‘, one which could quite easily draw in surrounding nations and powers.
The escalation of this recent crisis puts the stability and peace of the region at a high risk where, so far, more than 36 people from both sides, both soldiers and civilians have died. This constitutes the most amount of casualties lost since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in 1994 and comes to prove the need now more than ever for a comprehensive solution to the Nagorno Karabakh issue, one based on the right to self – determination of its people.
The EU as an international actor bears a responsibility here. As over many years it has formed deep relations with both the Armenian and the Azeri sides, and lies in a position where it can use diplomacy through its High Representative to mobilize other significant players within the international community alongside some of those within the OSCE’s Minsk Group to exert significant pressure on both sides to avoid a further loss of life and prevent the crisis escalating even more.
If the international community and particularly the EU do not intensify their efforts and rhetoric towards a solution, the majority of the diplomatic upper hand will be left to Moscow which has long relied on the Karabakh conflict as an instrument for power, influence and dominance over the region, and could use the recent outbreak of violence to instate itself militarily even further within the region.
The EU-Armenia Friendship Group in the European Parliament believes that in coming days and weeks the EU institutions including the European Parliament must not simply watch both these neighbouring countries “play with fire”, and should put pressure on the office of the High Representative to play a more constructive and active role and take the relevant diplomatic measures in order to consolidate stability and peace among the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples, regardless of whether they are inhabitants of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan or of Nagorno Karabakh. The settlement of the conflict should be in line with the right to self –determination. This is the only fair, democratic and realistic approach which can lead to a viable settlement of the conflict.