EU envoy to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Baku
By Sara Rajabova
European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus Philippe Lefort is due to visit Azerbaijan to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement and the development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU.
Lefort's visit to Baku is scheduled for next week, the EU Baku office told Trend news agency on July 18.
The EU envoy is currently on a visit to Yerevan where he discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Armenian media reported.
During the meeting with the Armenian president Lefort confirmed the EU's support for the OSCE Minsk Group, which is mediating the settlement of the long-standing conflict.
In June, the EU envoy visited Azerbaijan and discussed the development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the EU, as well as the current state of and prospects for the talks to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijani officials.
He said the conflict is a very important issue for the EU and the organization respects the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan, its South Caucasus neighbor. The two countries fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Armenian armed forces have since occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on a pullout from the occupied territories.
Russia, France and the U.S. have long been working to broker a solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the OSCE Minsk Group, but their efforts have been largely fruitless so far.