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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: CDU CSU

Mister President! Dear Colleagues! In recent years, especially since the Velvet Revolution in Armenia in 2018, there were brief hopes of relaxation in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the bloodiest fights since 1994 have raged since September 27th. It has been addressed by whom Escalation of violence has ended this time. There are civilian victims, there are human rights violations, and all of this must come to an end quickly.

We urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect the humanitarian ceasefire agreement reached in Moscow on October 10, 2020, to stop all fighting immediately and to avoid further casualties at all costs. Armenia and Azerbaijan have committed to provide humanitarian aid. Now they urgently need to create the conditions for this.

What at first glance may seem like a regionally limited armed conflict has the potential to develop into a wildfire. Nowhere else do the interests of the regional powers Russia, Turkey and Iran collide as closely as here.

And we find that the conflict is not only fueled rhetorically by the external interference of individual regional powers, but is also massively supported materially and logistically. As elsewhere, we in the Caucasus are experiencing an increasingly aggressive and militarized foreign policy by Turkey. It’s not just about whether, but also about how. The reports of the use of mercenaries are of particular concern.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is ostensibly one of the legacies of the former Soviet Union. However, its causes go back much further. Three aspects in particular make it so complex and a peaceful solution so difficult:

First. Traditional settlement areas of ethnic groups on the one hand and state borders on the other hand were and are not congruent in the Caucasus region. This applies in particular to the predominantly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is part of Azerbaijan under international law, but has been occupied by Armenia since a military intervention in 1992. As long as all those involved orient themselves towards the supposed ideal of an ethnically homogeneous nation-state, the two principles of territorial sovereignty and the peoples’ right to self-determination clash in a contradiction that is difficult to resolve. This also lays the foundation for reciprocal expulsions and – to use this terrible word – ethnic cleansing.

Secondly. Nor is it one of the so-called Frozen Conflicts that are often mentioned in the post-Soviet space. If, for example, in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, one witnesses how representatives of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been rhetorically fighting this conflict with one another for years and decades, then one sees that there can be no question of a frozen conflict. No, the conflict has meanwhile created identity for both countries.

Third. The fact that Orthodox Christians, one of the oldest Christian denominations of all, and predominantly Shiite Muslims are facing each other in this conflict gives the situation a dangerous explosive power in terms of a misguided narrative of a clash of cultures or religions and a correspondingly motivated outside interference.

It is therefore imperative that Armenia and Azerbaijan return to the path of peaceful and lasting conflict resolution. As a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, Germany has consistently reaffirmed its support for Co-Chairs France, the USA and Russia in their efforts to find a negotiated solution. This signal should also emanate from today’s debate here.

(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)

Demands to make Turkey, of all places, another Co-Chair of the Minsk Group do not find our support.

(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)

But for a sustainable solution to the conflict, one must definitely think about aiming for a meeting of the entire Minsk group. In this format, the EU with its numerous member states represented there could also play an even more active role. And then Turkey would be called upon to make a constructive contribution to resolving the conflict.

Dear colleagues, let us have no illusions: after almost 30 years of conflict, painful compromises will be necessary on all sides for a peaceful future. However, the continuous dialogue with and among the conflicting parties is all the more essential. In formats such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, we MEPs can constructively lead, encourage and promote this dialogue.

We in Germany should on the one hand resist the temptation to let one of the conflicting parties take over us – with all understanding for the respective position and concern. And on the other hand, of course, we mustn’t indulge in indifference, as if it doesn’t really affect us. To quote the Easter Walk from Goethe’s Faust: “When, at the back, far, in Turkey, the peoples clash.”

I would like to thank all of my colleagues for their contributions that this has become clear today at this current hour.

Many thanks.

(Applause from the CDU / CSU and members of the SPD)


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI