The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar has commented to Turan news agency the criticism of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan after his meeting on April 14 in Yerevan with “Karabakh Foreign Minister” David Babayan.
Recall that MFA said:“Such steps of EU representative Toivo Klaar, which do not take into account the new realities in the region after the conflict [the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict], threaten fragile peace and give unreasonable expectations to the other side, are unacceptable,” the ministry said.
As well, EU Ambassador Jankauskas was called to MFA. The ambassador was informed that such actions of the EU special representative for the South Caucasus undermined the confidence of the Azerbaijani side in him”.
In his answer to the question of Turan what are his estimations, MR. Klaar said:
“As you can imagine, both Ambassador K. Jankauskas and myself have been in contact on the matter with various Azerbaijani high-level officials over the past few days. We have taken good note of the concerns voiced by the officials and explained our point of view to help avoid misunderstandings.
During these contacts, we once again reiterated that this meeting, held in Yerevan on 14 April, could in no way be interpreted as a change of the EU’s position. As you know, both I and my predecessors, in the exercise of the mandate given by EU Member States, have been maintaining intensive and frequent close contacts with official government actors. We have also interacted with relevant stakeholders in the region in line with the given mandate – and, during my earlier visits to Baku, I have also had regular meetings with the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh, its members, other IDPs and their representatives.
Let me reiterate: the fact that this or previous meetings took place in Yerevan did not imply recognition or agreement with the interlocutor. In no way was it disrespectful of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. There can be no doubt about it. The EU supports Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
We have always talked about such meetings openly with our Azerbaijani counterparts. Also in this case, I informed the Azerbaijani leadership in advance about my intention to have this meeting during my last visit to Yerevan. My goal was to have the best possible understanding about the current situation on the ground, in line with the mandate given to me by EU Member States.
As you know, in the Georgia context, where the EU plays a more prominent role as a mediator, the EUSR has always had meetings with Abkhaz and South Ossetian representatives, both in the framework of the Geneva International Discussions and consultations on the ground, in Sukhumi and Tskhinvali, for instance. These meetings were neither disrespectful of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, nor affected the EU policy of non-recognition. To the contrary, they were helpful in shaping an accurate understanding of the situation on the ground.
The EU was born as a peace project and has a lot of experience in reconciliation. To achieve that, people need to be able to listen to each other, hear each other, talk to each other, first of all diplomats. The EU would like to see the South Caucasus as an area of peace, development and prosperity.
That process is ongoing. In this context we hear, respect and also seriously take into account Baku’s recently expressed concerns”.
Source: Turan News Agency