The European Union continues to support the current format of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks and strongly oppose possible attempts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by force, the EU’s special envoy to the South Caucasus said on Friday.
Philippe Lefort warned that renewed war for Karabakh would be disastrous for not only the conflicting parties but also the entire region. “No war, no war,” he repeatedly said at a meeting with university students in Yerevan.
“War in this region would lead to a big catastrophe for all parties involved,” he said. “That is why we don’t want this protracted conflict to become an active conflict.”
The diplomat reaffirmed EU support for the existing Basic Principles of a Karabakh settlement put forward by the United States, France and Russia, the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. He described them as a “very serious alternative to the current situation.”
Both parties claim to largely accept the framework peace deal drafted by the three mediating powers. But they still disagree on some key details of the proposed settlement.
Lefort said the EU continues to believe that the Minsk Group should remain the main international body trying to broker an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace accord. “If we were to change the format, there is a big risk to lose the [peace] plan,” he explained.
Azerbaijani officials occasionally threaten to have other international structures, notably the United States, involved in the peace process, saying that the Minsk Group co-chairs are not doing enough to end the bitter dispute. The Armenian side, by contrast, is strongly categorically against any changes in the negotiating format.