EXPERTS: NAGORNO-KARABAKH NEEDS EU ACTION

United Press International
June 17 2009

The European Union should intervene in disputes over Nagorno-Karabakh
in order to avert dramatic regional consequences, analysts suggest.

War broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh
in the early 1990s, and the regional fallout from that row remains
tense despite a 1994 cease-fire.

Azerbaijan is spending some $2 billion on its military, which eclipses
the entire federal budget for Armenia. Meanwhile, Armenia is asking for
self-determination over the region, while Azerbaijan demands Armenian
troops leave and allow Nagorno-Karabakh to remain Azeri territory.

A review of the situation by The Atlantic Council, a Washington think
tank, said it is likely Europe would have a role in the aftermath of
any conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and should therefore play a role
in mediation.

"If Europe is to become the main implementer and guarantor of a peace
deal, Europe also needs to be a part of the deal-making process,"
the analysis suggests.

A conflict has the potential to pit Turkey and Russia against Europe
and the United States in a row that has a distinct possibility of
rippling through the regional energy sector.

Europe, the Council suggests, should therefore use its influence
to coerce Yerevan to abandon its military presence while making key
decisions on Azeri territorial integrity.

Brussels needs to use lessons learned from past regional disputes to
"become an active peacemaker in the conflict between Armenia and
Azerbaijan," the report says.