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EP: THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS VOTED FOR AN INADEQUATE
RESOLUTION ON SOUTH CAUCASUS

Brussels, December 18, 2007 - The EP Committee on Foreign Affairs
adopted a project of resolution on the South Caucasus whose
rapporteur is Ms Lydie Polfer (Luxemburg, ALDE group, Alliance of
Liberals and Democrats for Europe). 203 amendments were tabled.

- Regarding the Karabakh conflict, the resolution `reiterates its
strong support for the Minsk Group' but `regrets the lack of any
substantial progress' and calls on the return to their homes of all
the IDPs'. The Parliament `reiterates its respect and support for
the territorial integrity and internationally recognised borders of
Azerbaijan, as well as of Armenia', `notes that the contradiction
between the principles of self-determination and territorial
integrity contributes to the perpetuation of the conflicts in the
South Caucasus region' to call for negotiations on the basis of the
principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act. The Parliament
`condemns attempts to misuse the Kosovo issue in such a way as to
create additional hurdles in the negotiations on the conflicts in the
South Caucasus'.

`We expected from this resolution a constructive contribution which
facilitates the Caucasus' conflicts resolution; instead of this,
the Committee on Foreign Affairs confuses things and makes the means
of the settlement incomprehensible. By disqualifying the right to
self-determination, which stabilizes the `territorial integrity',
the project of resolution violates article 1 of the Charter of the
United Nations' explained the Chairperson of the European Armenian
Federation, Hilda Tchoboian. `It is an unbalanced and unilateral
attitude that is 10 years late on the acquis of the negotiations. It
puts the European Parliament out of step with OSCE while this
organisation, in charge of the Karabakh conflict settlement, is
entitled to wait for unfailing support from Europe' regretted Hilda
Tchoboian.

The Federation reminds the international organisations, the OSCE, the
European Commission, the European Council, and even the European
Parliament adopted a long time ago the 2 principles of `territorial
integrity' and of the `right to self-determination' as bases of
Karabakh conflict negotiations.

- Referring to Armenia's efforts, the provisional text "commends
the internal political and institutional reforms undertaken in the
context of implementation of the Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan'
and `encourages the Armenian authorities to continue on this path
and to make further progress in strengthening democratic
structures'. The Parliament notes that `the parliamentary
elections held in May 2007 were largely in accordance with
international commitments; and expects that the presidential
elections to be held on 19 February 2008 will be the same.

- Moreover, the project of resolution `calls on key actors in the
region to play a constructive role in resolving frozen conflicts in
the region and to take steps to normalise its relations with
neighbours'. The Parliament `calls on the Commission and the
Council to address the opening of the Turkish border with Armenia
with the framework of accession negotiations'.

- The text adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
`reiterates its call upon Turkey to engage in serious and intensive
efforts [¦] including a frank and open discussion on past events'
and `on Turkish and Armenian Governments to start process of
reconciliation for the present and the past'.

« We have to read between the lines to understand the text deals
with the Armenian genocide, it is amazing to see that for the members
of the AFET Committee, a genocide deserves only a call for frank and
open discussion!!! Such phraseology, instead of a call for the
recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey, inexorably puts the
European Parliament in a position that it is not hers, i.e. the
position which consists in submitting to the Turkish authorities
demands to make the Armenian genocide an absolute taboo in Europe',
noticed Tchoboian.

Lastly, the resolution welcomes the Baku-Tbilissi-Kars railway.
However, the Parliament `stresses that the project bypasses
existing and fully operative rail lines in Armenia' and depends on
`short-sighted and politically-motivated policies which violate
European Neighbourhood Policy principles'.

`We all know that the European Union refused to participate in the
railway's financing, precisely because of the objective of both
Turkey and Azerbaijan to isolate Armenia and to exclude it from the
regional lines of communication. Thus, it is inopportune to welcome
this project of exclusion,' declared Hilda Tchoboian.

In the end, in spite of significant corrections brought by the
`compromise amendments' to the initial version, the resolution
adopted on the South Caucasus gives rise to worries in respect of the
European Union's role in conflict resolution in the region.

`The EP Committee on Foreign Affairs missed the opportunity to be
very helpful and to bring a positive contribution, albeit minor `
taking into consideration its consultative status, to conflict
resolution in the region, that we deeply deplore. We invite all of
the MEPs to correct these arbitrary choices during the plenary
session in January 2008', concluded Hilda Tchoboian.


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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress