Strong international coalition can prevent full Azeri invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh and impose respect for ceasefire -MEP
YEREVAN, AUGUST 18, ARMENPRESS. Member of the European Parliament François Alfonsi (France), the Co-chair of the European Parliament-Artsakh Friendship Group, is not fully satisfied with the EU’s policy regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. However, the MEP believes that as a result of consistent work and pressure by the European Parliament, the EU is trying to be more active and involved in the process.
In an interview with ARMENPRESS Brussels correspondent Lilit Gasparyan, Alfonsi said that first of all Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin must adhere to the 9 November 2020 agreement.
He said that the logic of the Cold War-era corridor between the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) could be an example for a possible solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The EU is more or less dealing with the issue,” Alfonsi said when asked to assess the EU’s policy in responding to the Nagorno-Karabakh humanitarian disaster resulting from the blockade.
“And I think this is a result of the European Parliament’s consistent work and pressure. The monitoring mission that Mr. Borrell sent to Armenia is nevertheless a positive step. Besides, the President of the European Council is bringing together the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to try and find a way out. I think Europe is involved to some extent, and this is more in the interest of the Armenian people for Europe to be involved, because Europe, in addition to international diplomatic influence, also has means of economic pressure, which are real. The EU could utilize these means if it wanted to. It’s a difficult situation, and if Europe were to leave any initiative the situation would become more difficult. This is my first response. Secondly, there is an international agreement that must be respected. This is a precondition, the ceasefire agreement, which explicitly envisages free movement along Lachin Corridor under guarantees of Russian peacekeepers. It’s only them on the ground and they know what they should do, therefore I think this should be the starting point of discussions. By closing the Lachin Corridor Mr. Aliyev is using his position of force. He has made proposals on new possible entrances and roads, which would run through Azeri territory, under its complete control. But this cannot happen, because there is no trust, particularly by the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. Europe must show that by uniting main actors, it has the influence to impose complete respect for the 2020 ceasefire agreement, because everything must happen around it [agreement].”
“The only thing recognized by everyone, by Russians, Americans, Europeans, and the Azerbaijanis and Armenians, is the ceasefire agreement that has been signed, including by Mr. Aliyev. Therefore, the first thing that needs to be asked from the international actors is to tell Mr. Aliyev to respect his own signature,” the MEP added.
François Alfonsi added that there is a strong majority in the European Parliament that will continue supporting the Armenian people.
He noted that the EU monitoring mission sent to the Armenian border has suppressed to some extent further attacks by Azerbaijan.
MEP Alfonsi warned that Aliyev’s ultimate goal is the complete invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh and stressed that only a coalition of major powers can prevent this.
Asked on his view about a possible peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Member of the European Parliament said that the main principle of such an agreement should be the respect of every citizen’s right.
“The main principle is for every citizen to be able to say ‘my rights are respected.’ There can be peace only when people will consider their rights to be respected. How can the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh say that their rights or territory are respected in these conditions? They can’t. Europe knows this well,” Alfonsi said.
“…it is necessary to have guarantees regarding the territorial integrity, the rights of the Armenian population and the inviolability of the Lachin Corridor, just like between West Germany and East Germany during the Cold War,” he added.