YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Armenia criticized the European Parliament on Friday for demanding the “withdrawal of Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan” in its latest resolution on the South Caucasus.
Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said the demand contradicts international mediators’ existing plan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabagh dispute, which has been endorsed by the European Union.
The non-binding resolution adopted by the EU legislature on Thursday does not specify whether the Armenian side should pull out of only Azerbaijani districts surrounding Karabagh or the disputed region as well. It only rejects the notion that “Nagorno-Karabagh includes all occupied Azerbaijani lands surrounding Nagorno-Karabagh.”
Nor does the resolution, drafted by Bulgarian Socialist lawmaker Evgeni Kirilov, explain whether the Armenian troop pullout should start immediately and unconditionally or after the signing of a comprehensive Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement. The latter condition is a key element of the Madrid Principles of settling conflict that have been proposed by the US, Russian and French mediators cochairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.
Nalbandian said that the resolution demand is at odds with both those principles and a joint statement on Karabagh that was made by the presidents of the three mediating powers in July. “There is an obvious confusion in the formulations, and I think one of the reasons for that is that the author of the resolution has never been in Karabagh and the [broader] region, and did not consult with representatives of France, an EU member state and OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, when drawing up his report,” he told a news conference.
“That is the reason why some of the [resolution] provisions also contradict the EU’s position, which has been repeatedly articulated,” Nalbandian said.