Azerbaijan calls on EU to show same sensitivity for Nagorno-Karabakh over Crimea
A man passes a mural showing a map of Crimea in the Russian national colours on a street in Moscow March 25, 2014. REUTERS PhotoAzerbaijan has called on the European Union to show the same sensitivity as it has displayed for Ukraine on Crimea on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which remains frozen after a two-decade stalemate.
Elkhan Suleymanov, chair of the Azerbaijan delegation to the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly and a member of the Council of Europe, addressed top EU officials over the issue last week, saying there were “strong discrepancies in the behavior of the European Union related to such illegal attacks against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries in the Eastern Partnership of the EU” vis-à-vis the Crimean crisis.
While supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Suleymanov criticized the “double standards” of the EU, demanding that European institutions show the same level of support, through declarations and supportive actions for Azerbaijan and its territorial integrity, as it has done for Ukraine.
Armenian-backed separatists took Nagorno-Karabakh, a region with a significant Armenian population, from Azerbaijan in a war in the early 1990s that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives. A 1994 cease-fire ended major hostilities, but no peace accord has been reached, and clashes regularly erupt. About 20 troops from either side have been killed on the frontier in the past year.
Last week, Ukraine’s interim government recalled its ambassador to Yerevan for consultations after Armenia’s president backed Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call that Moscow’s annexation Crimea was a “model for the realization of self-determination.”
“I want to remind you that Nagorno-Karabakh is not a frozen conflict and that it deserves just as much attention as does the crisis in Ukraine,” Suleymanov said, warning that it was a dangerous source of instability for the entire South Caucasus.