The leadership of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to step up their efforts to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at a meeting held in Yerevan on Friday.
“The search for a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a commitment taken by Armenia and by Azerbaijan upon their accession to the Council of Europe,” the PACE’s Standing Committee said in a statement adopted during the meeting. “In this context, we express our full support to the negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, on the basis of the ‘Madrid principles’ which establish a framework for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
“The Assembly urges Armenia and Azerbaijan to seize the opportunity offered by their respective chairmanships of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, to promote reconciliation between these two member states and their populations, as well as to intensify the search, in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This should be reflected in the respective priorities of these two chairmanships,” read the statement.
The panel comprising PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon, his deputies and dozens of other European lawmakers met in Yerevan two weeks after Armenia took over the six-month presidency of the committee. Azerbaijan, whose representatives boycotted the meeting, will do so next year.
Mignon said that this represents a “unique opportunity” for both warring nations to step up “the search for solutions to ‘frozen conflicts’, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in particular.” “As parliamentarians and PACE members, we have a duty to promote political reconciliation and dialogue between elected representatives through parliamentary diplomacy,” he said.
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian commented on the Karabakh dispute during a question-and-answer session with Standing Committee members that opened the Yerevan meeting. He again accused Azerbaijan of torpedoing the peace process by failing to accept the “Madrid principles” put forward by the OSCE Minsk Group.