Europe to pay more attention to Karabakh conflict settlement in 2016

Europe will pay more attention to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement in 2016, Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu, the Vice-President of the Turkish Strategic Outlook analytical center, the expert on the South Caucasus region, told Trend Nov. 5.

He was commenting on the PACE draft resolution calling for an end to the occupation of Azerbaijani territories.

“Armenia will have to face pressure,” he said. “This document says that Europe wants to strengthen its influence in the region, especially after the war in Georgia in 2008.”

“Europe and the US are very worried about the hegemony of Russia stretching to Syria,” said Oztarsu. “Therefore, the US is trying to get closer to Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. This means that Armenia will increasingly be notified that it violates international law in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.”

The expert also said that the concept of the resolution is of legal nature, which should be taken very seriously.

“It is not yet known whether Armenia will face the challenge of Europe, however the fact that the initiative of the West may lead to a change regarding the occupation of seven districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh is for sure,” he said.

In a draft resolution approved Nov. 4, the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for the withdrawal of Armenian armed forces and other irregular armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan, said the PACE website.

PACE also called for the establishment of full sovereignty of Azerbaijan in these territories, in the framework of the OSCE Minsk process.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council’s four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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