By Akbar Mammadov
The European Parliament (EP) adopted a joint statement condemning the construction of a new highway between Armenia and Azerbaijan’s occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, the EP released on its website on June 10.
The joint statement has been made by the EP rapporteurs for Azerbaijan, Zhelena Zavko, for Armenia Traian Basescu and co-chair of the EP Parliamentary Cooperation Committee for Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, Maria Kalyurand.
Commenting on the construction of a third highway connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh that will kick off soon, the EP rapporteurs said:
“This new road infrastructure will connect Kapan, in Armenia, with Hadrut, in Nagorno- Karabakh, passing through the districts of Qubadli and Jabrayil, which are also occupied. As a matter of principle, we support projects that foster regional cooperation, connectivity and people-to-people contacts in the Eastern Neighbourhood”, the statement reads.
“That said, the decision to build this highway has been taken without the consent of the competent authorities of Azerbaijan –in violation of international law. In addition, it could symbolically entrench the illegal occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and of its surrounding districts.”
“Therefore, we very much deplore this initiative as it does not help to create conditions conducive to trust, peace and reconciliation. We reiterate our unwavering support to the efforts of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and their 2009 Basic Principles”, the rapporteurs stated.
“For this mediation to have a chance of success, we call on the authorities of Armenia and Azerbaijan to step up their commitment, in good faith, to the negotiation on the peaceful resolution of the conflict within the internationally recognised borders of Azerbaijan”, the statement concludes.
It should be that it is the first joint document of officials of the European Parliament on illegal activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, which along with seven adjacent regions was occupied by Armenian forces in a war in the early 1990s. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and around one million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France has been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts have resulted in no progress and to this date, Armenia has failed to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) that demand the withdrawal of Armenian military forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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