BRUSSELS—In line with the increased involvement in the neighboring countries, and the attention paid to the frozen conflicts in the Eastern region, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs held a meeting on Wednesday June 15, with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs Ambassadors Robert Bradtke (USA) and Bernard Fassier (France) on recent developments in the negotiations process and on the current situation in Nagorno Karabakh.
The Russian representative, Ambassador Igor Popov, did not attend the meeting due to the preparations for the Kazan meeting between the Armenian and Azeri presidents, Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev. The negotiations have gathered a momentum, and it is likely that the upcoming meeting in Kazan (Russia) on June 25, will lead to a breakthrough, stressed Bradtke and Fassier.
Each of the presidents explained the results they reached during the past 5 years, and focused on their respective country’s involvement in the negotiation process. They both underlined that the OSCE Minsk Group is the best format to reach an agreement because of the efficiency, flexibility, taking quick and tough decisions and keeping the confidentiality.
Ambassador Bradtke stressed that the EU Eastern Partnership is of great importance for the United States and for the long-lasting peace in the Caucasus. They invite the European Union to play a decisive role in consolidating peace by preparing the civil societies in both countries, promoting democracy and using all its policies as leverages. They also think that the EU has a role to play in demining, reconstructing, and peace keeping.
Facing the harsh criticism by several MEPs regarding the status quo, Russia’s interest in the region, and the course of the arms race, Mr Fassier confirmed the decisive role of Russia, emphasizing that it is not the only country supplying arms to the region. He mentioned that Azerbaijan will buy drones (pilotless spying airplanes); that every year the Azerbaijani military budget is growing by 20 to 30%, and compared to last year it has increased by 100%, exceeding the Republic of Armenia’s entire GDP.
The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy reiterates its call on to the OSCE to demand solid, non-aggression guarantees from the Azeri state prior to any further discussions relating to the Minsk Group agenda. Furthermore, the Federation considers that the future negotiating process must include the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, as a full-fledged party to the negotiations. The Azerbaijani security threats are first directed to the people of Nagorno Karabakh, who must have their independent say in the process and future determination of their state.