EU MUST PLAY GREATER ROLE IN STABILIZING THE SOUTH CAUCASUS REGION, SAY MEPS

armradio.am
20.05.2010 17:55

The EU must steer a strategy for stability, prosperity and
conflict-resolution in the South Caucasus, MEPs insist in a draft
resolution adopted by the Foreign Affairs committee on Thursday,
according to EP official website.

The implementation of the Eastern Partnership, which covers the three
South-Caucasian republics, and the entry into force of the Lisbon
Treaty offer the EU a prime opportunity to conceive a comprehensive
strategy for the region, says the report, drafted by Evgeni Kirilov
(Bulgaria, S&D). Europe will have to deal with a complex geopolitical
situation, however, in a region marked by conflict in the Nagorno
Karabakh area and in Georgia, as well as tensions between Armenia
and Turkey.

Although Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are partners of the EU's
Neighborhood Policy since 2004, a comprehensive regional strategy is
still lacking for the region. MEPs had already underlined the need for
such a strategy, in 2006, when they recommended an EU stability pact
for the southern Caucasus, involving the EU (with the participation
of Turkey as an accession candidate), Russia, the United States and
the United Nations (the Quartet).

MEPs wish the EU strategy for the South Caucasus to concentrate on
three domains: conflict resolution, promotion of democracy, human
rights and the rule of law; and economic cooperation and social
development.

The current situation of conflict in the region is neither acceptable
nor viable, states the resolution, which expresses concern over the
recent increases in military spending. "Frozen conflicts" are an
obstacle to economic and social development, warn MEPs.

MEPs call on Catherine Ashton, the EU's High-Representative for Foreign
Affairs, to play an active part in promoting conflict resolution in
the region.

Finally, recognizing the importance of the region for the EU's energy
security and supply, MEPs express their support for the strengthening
of EU-South Caucasus cooperation in energy projects, in particular
for the successful realization of the Nabucco pipeline.