EuFoA Response to Joint Statement on the construction of a new highway between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, issued by the Chair of the European Parliament’s South Caucasus Delegation, the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Armenia, and the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Azerbaijan
On Wednesday 10th June, a Joint Statement was issued by three Members of the European Parliament – Its South Caucasus Delegation Chair, MEP Marina Kaljurand, its Standing Rapporteur on Armenia, MEP Traian Băsescu, and its Standing Rapporteur on Azerbaijan, MEP Željana Zovko. The Joint Statement concerned the construction of a new highway between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
We at the European Friends of Armenia are extremely disappointed by this statement and its abrupt departure from the long established precedent that has guided official statements of the delegation. This formula fully and unambiguously adhered to solving the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh in line with the position of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and their 2009 Basic Principles.
This formula recognises a reasonable compromise based on the Helsinki Final Act principles of the Non-Use of Force, Territorial Integrity, and the Equal Rights and Self-Determination of Peoples. Whilst the 10th June statement referred to its support for the 2009 Basic Principles, ultimately it was worded to the effect that it suggested an outcome based only on the principles of Territorial Integrity.
The content of the statement has not only caused deep offence to the European Parliament’s Armenian counterparts in the Parliamentary Partnership Committee and beyond but also served as the basis for media disinformation campaigns, which are ultimately damaging to the peace process.
On the wider issue of highway construction, we take this opportunity to note that the current routes between Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh are extremely limited and it is a natural expectation, indeed a human right, for those living in Nagorno Karabakh to have adequate means of transit. This is particularly important given that it is landlocked and without a civilian airport. The Armenian border remains the only way in and out.
We also note statements from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence, which have linked alleged advances in its strategic military position to the need for expenditure by the authorities in Nagorno Karabakh to fund the construction of new roads.
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