Military built-up must be stopped in Nagorno-Karabakh

The only way to prevent a new outbreak of war around the line of contact and de-escalate the situation is to stop the military build-up and the relevant arms race. The best way to achieve this is to deploy a robust UN peacekeeping mission around the line of contact with demilitarisation of the area and the withdrawal of all heavy armaments to 15 to 30 kilometres away. The parties in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group should develop and agree to an incident prevention and investigation mechanism to address all violations that may occur.

Nagorno-Karabakh differs from the other frozen conflicts in one point: both parties agree that most of the conflict area belonged to Azerbaijan, and I am talking about the seven provinces surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia, therefore, should give back to Azerbaijan most of the occupied provinces within a reasonable fixed time period, and at the same time, the OSCE Minsk Group presidency should relaunch the negotiations on the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Instead of exchanging accusations against each other about possible war crimes committed in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan should both sign and ratify the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court. Armenia has signed but not ratified; Azerbaijan has neither signed nor ratified. Finally, the EU should apply the same approach to all the conflicts in the Eastern Partnership countries, avoiding double standards.

Heidi’s plenary speech on 13 April 2016