Azerbaijan doesn’t fulfill international obligations: MEP concerned over issue of Armenian POWs

Member of the European Parliament Lars Patrick Berg is concerned over the fact that Azerbaijan is not fulfilling its commitments assumed by the international agreements, by not completely returning the Armenian prisoners of war. The MEP says his country, Germany, can play a role in supporting efforts within the United Nations to force Azerbaijan to honour its international commitments.

Azerbaijan doesn’t fulfill international obligations: MEP concerned over issue of Armenian POWs

Azerbaijan doesn’t fulfill international obligations: MEP concerned over issue of Armenian POWs

STEPANAKERT, JANUARY 27, ARTSAKHPRESS: The MEP gave an interview to Armenpress, which is available below:

-Mr. Lars Patrick Berg, one of the points of the trilateral statement on Artsakh is the exchange of prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons, but Azerbaijan seems to be hindering this process. Azerbaijan has already returned more than 40 Armenian captives and Armenia has returned prisoners of war to Azerbaijan, but the process is not over yet. Despite the joint efforts of Armenia and Russia, there are still Armenian captives in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan either delays or does not implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. First of all, what is Your opinion on this attitude of Azerbaijan?

-It is regrettable that Azerbaijan has chosen not to honour its obligations under international treaties. I understand representations have already been made to the United Nations on this matter, and Azerbaijan should desist from undermining the agreements. Prisoners of War have protected rights, and Azerbaijan's attempts to re-designate these prisoners simply demonstrate bad faith.

-What do You think what can the European Parliament do to support the immediate return of the Armenian captives from Azerbaijan? What role can You, the other MEPs, play?

-The European Parliament probably has a limited role at the present time. Some pressure can be applied, especially through the inter-parliamentary groups, but in reality I think the UN is the right forum for this to be discussed.

-And what is the opinion on this issue in Germany? Some Armenian opposition figures think that in addition to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, many other countries should also make efforts with their announcements to pressure Azerbaijan to return the prisoners of war. What role can Germany play?

-There is obviously a great deal of sympathy within Germany for the plight of the prisoners of war, and for the unwarranted attack on Artsakh perpetrated by Azerbaijan. Germany can play a role in supporting a concerted effort within the United Nations to force Azerbaijan to honour its international commitments, and can do the same within the European Union, although this will have a limited effect.

-After the recent war unleashed by Azerbaijan, the recognition of Artsakh's independence has become an issue on the agenda again. Will you insist that Germany recognize the independence of Artsakh?

-I have every sympathy for Artsakh's claims of independence, but I am not sure that now is the right time to push this agenda. The priority has to be the release of the prisoners of war, and a negotiation that ensures Azerbaijan (and Turkey) abide by the agreements. At that point we can get into the detail of the future status of Artsakh.

-Azerbaijan committed many war crimes during the war, Azerbaijan used banned phosphorous weapons, targeted the civilian population, civilian objects, and so far has not received an adequate response from the international community. What opinion do You have about this? How should Azerbaijan be legally punished at the international level?

-My understanding is that these crimes are being investigated.

-The issue of Artsakh's status has not been resolved yet, it should be resolved within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, but Azerbaijan is not inclined to go for it. How would you comment on the political behavior of Azerbaijan? What is your opinion on the issue of Artsakh's status?
-I think the Minsk Group has been struggling to come up with workable solutions for some times, and Azerbaijan's intractable position hasn't made things any easier for them. I hope that Azerbaijan will see the value of behaving reasonably, and the people of Artsakh will be able to choose their future for themselves. I have to say on past performance this may not happen anytime soon.