Scottish MP urges West to push for Nagorno-Karabakh settlement

By Sara Rajabova

A Scottish MP in the British parliament has said the West should be more proactive in supporting Azerbaijan in the region and in pushing for a solution of the long-standing Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Answering questions from the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), Angus MacNeil also pushed for more support from the West in addressing the occupation of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region and implementing the four outstanding UN Security Council resolutions urging a withdrawal of Armenian armed forces, in line with international law and the four UNSC resolutions that are yet to be implemented.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.

MacNeil said the relations between Scotland and Azerbaijan are increasingly developing.

He said that Azerbaijan is a leader in the region and an economic powerhouse.

The country's relationship with the UK is expected to grow wider as well as deeper, as Scottish companies help develop other sectors of the economy in the same way that was integral to the massive success of the energy sector.

"Azerbaijan is a country roughly the size of Scotland and a Western ally that, for the past 19 years, has supplied oil and gas to Europe through the BP-led Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC)," MacNeil said.

There are many synergies between Scottish energy expertise and Azerbaijan. In Scotland, BP employs more than 2,500 people and, over the years, these have included several hundred Azerbaijanis.

Azerbaijan is already the sixth largest export market for Scotland's oil and gas service/supply base, with a number of leading companies operating there, including the Wood Group, RBG, Highland Rope Access International and Fergusson Seacabs.