25 May 2022, Brussels: As a pan-European civil society grassroots organization the EAFJD and its committees, representing a significant part of the European citizens of Armenian origin, express their profound discontent with the recent statement of the President of the European Council Charles Michel following the trilateral meeting with the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on 22 May, 2022.
Mediating for peace is necessary and welcome. Nevertheless, it is essential to ensure that peace is negotiated based on justice and not by cornering the side that has been a victim of vicious aggression of the tandem of two authoritarian regimes, such as Azerbaijan and Turkey which i.a. deployed jihadist fighters against the native Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh. It is unacceptable for an EU leader to mediate for peace by sacrificing the fundamental rights and needs of the oppressed side.
Unfortunately, the recent statement of president Michel disregards key principles of EU’s documented approach towards the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and overall endorses the Azerbaijani stance on the conflict resolution in some crucial aspects.
Deviating from the EU’s decade-long approach as well as that of all the relevant international documents, Charles Michel uses the vague wording “Karabakh” instead of “Nagorno Karabakh” which is a political entity with a defined territory. Thus, the President of the European Council repeats the narrative of the Azerbaijani President, insinuating that Nagorno Karabakh as an entity does not exist and is genocidal in its essence.
In March 2022, the European Parliament adopted a resolution by overwhelming majority on the ongoing destruction of the Armenian religious and cultural heritage in Nagorno Karabakh, acknowledging that “the erasure of the Armenian cultural heritage is part of a wider pattern of a systematic, state-level policy of Armenophobia, historical revisionism and hatred towards Armenians promoted by the Azerbaijani authorities”. Using the term Karabakh is clearly a part of the ongoing Azerbaijani policy of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh and is genocidal in its essence.
We herewith remind Mr. Charles Michel that in his capacity as the President of the European Council he should base the mediation on the following facts and aspects:
- The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the EU and Armenia (CEPA), which entered into force in March 2021, “recognizes the need to achieve that settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict on the basis of the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the OSCE Helsinki Final Act,including the equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as one of the three Basic principles.”
- Any direct control of Baku over the Nagorno Karabakh inevitably means ethnic cleansing of its millennia-old native Armenian population. Hence the question of the status of Nagorno Karabakh which must reflects the democratic expression of will of the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh is primordial in ensuring the long-term, sustainable security of the population and guarantee their right to live in their homeland.
- Unblocking transportation/communication links must be carried out in full respect of sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia. Any potential risk of creating a new ground for conflict must be excluded.
- Border delimitation and demarcation between Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot be a consequence of the use of force and must not be carried out hastily without taking into consideration all the details of its consequences.
- Azerbaijan must immediately stop its state policy of Armenophobia in all its manifestations
- Following inter alia by the European Parliament as well as that of a number of parliaments of the EU Member states, Azerbaijan must immediately and unconditionally release all the Armenian prisoners of war and captives.
The EAFJD also expects from the Armenian Government to insist on all the above-mentioned aspects during the negotiations.