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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/19/20

The EU's tools for resolving conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region

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T he EU does not have enough reliable information about current events in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. There is a gradual increase in disinformation aimed at mobilizing the domestic public in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The E uropean Union considers the OSCE Minsk group to be the only platform for finding a solution to this conflict in the South Caucasus. The Minsk group is led by Russia, France and the United States. MEPs are calling for action against Turkey, which was a provoking factor in the outbreak of armed actions. A review of relations with Ankara is planned for the December EU summit.

The escalation has highlighted the need for various institutions of the European Union to take timely measures in order to prevent the outbreak of conflicts that are in the frozen stage.

The C aucasus in Detail team is investigating potential tools for resolving the situation in Karabakh that are at the disposal of the European Union. The EU has been and will continue be the biggest supporter of the Armenian government's ambitious reform plan, which is consolidating democracy, the rule of law and promoting human rights in the country

On November 24, 2017, Armenia and the EU signed the comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement (CEPA). In 2019, after the velvet revolution, the EU increased its financial support and increased its annual grant allocations to 65 million euros, which were aimed at supporting the new government's reform program, developing the private sector, education and target regions. In addition, since 2014, more than 1 billion euros in mixed loans and grants have been invested in energy, agriculture and transport.

Through various levers of influence, EU bodies are able to persuade Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree to the introduction of peacekeeping forces along the line of contact, which has separated the parties to the conflict since 1994.

Given that dozens of people on both sides are killed or injured in private shootings in the Nagorno-Karabakh region every year during periods of escalation, the introduction of a peacekeeping force decades ago could have served as a rational step towards a timely and full-fledged settlement of the conflict.

There is also the possibility of conducting a peace enforcement operation, the international legal basis for which may be a decision of the UN security Council adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which provides for enforcement actions (measures) in the event of a threat to peace. However, in practice, such operations were carried out without the approval of the UN security Council.

The main factor that weakened the firmness of the EU countries' position regarding the promotion of the idea of the need to introduce a peacekeeping contingent is the issue of financial support. The EU bodies might have chosen saving money, given that the cost of international peacekeeping operations requires only an increase in financial costs over time.

Currently, the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Commission, and the EU special representative for the South Caucasus are guided by the R esolution on foreign policy in relation to the Eastern Partnership countries, updated in June 2020 before the summit.

Unlike the document adopted by the European Parliament in 2017, the resolution does not reflect the principles of "self-determination of peoples" and "non-use of force or threat of force" in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It contains several articles that really cast doubt on the security of Armenia and the unrecognized NKR.

Therefore, it is not surprising that immediately after the adoption of t he resolution on foreign policy in relation to the Eastern Partnership countries, the Armenian statesman David Shahnazaryan made a statement about "provoking Azerbaijan to start a new war".

He accused the European Parliament of non-proliferation of the principles of "non-use of force or threat of force" and "peaceful settlement" to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

T he Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict is excluded from the list of conflicts that should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law and the Helsinki principles, since "Russia does not participate in it".

"(O)"whereas the European Parliament condemns the violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the EaP countries, does not recognize forceful changes of their borders and attempted annexation of their territories and rejects the use of force or the threat of force, and shares the EU's commitment to supporting a peaceful conflict resolution via diplomatic means and in accordance with the norms and principles of international law, the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, namely in the conflicts to which Russia is a party"├é ╗.

Since the "abolition of force or threat of force" and "peaceful settlement" mentioned in this article do not apply to this conflict, the European Parliament does not deny the possibility of using force in Nagorno-Karabakh. Justifying at that time the possibility of future threats and military actions in the conflict zone, the EU gave Azerbaijan the green light.

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Aram Manukyan Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

an American journalist with expertise in the history and politics of Caucasus region

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