European MPs promise their support in resolving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

By: Sara Rajabova

Parliament members from Norway and Iceland praised the work on improving the lives of refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Committee for Refugee and IDP Affairs Ali Hasanov met the representatives of PACE on May 20, the Committee announced.

Hasanov gave a summary of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, its historical roots, and the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.

He noted that as a result of complicated political processes in the South Caucasus region, Azerbaijanis have undergone the policy of forced migration, ethnic cleansing and deportation several times in the last two centuries.

Hasanov also spoke about the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands, destruction of the country’s national and cultural legacy and the whole infrastructure as a result of the military aggression of the Armenian Armed Forces against Azerbaijan.

He said despite the UN Security Council’s four resolutions demanding the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and the return of IDPs and refugees to their homes, Armenia continues its illegal activities in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.

Hasanov further noted that Armenia’s aggressive policy had also been condemned in the resolutions and documents of the OSCE, PACE, OIC and other international organizations.

For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict which emerged over Armenia’s territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions.

A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by the U.S., Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.

Noting that a peaceful solution to the conflict is in the interests of Azerbaijan, Hasanov informed the MPs of the great work in the legal as well as socio-economic fields aimed at addressing the needs of refugees and IDPs.

He said the Azerbaijani government has spent $5.4 billion to tackle the social problems of refugees in the past 20 years, and that the living conditions of 180,000 refugees and IDPs have been improved.

Hasanov also noted that in 2013,the poverty rate declined from 49 percent to five percent in the country, and from 75 percent to 15 percent among refugees and IDPs.

The European MPs, in turn, said they would increase efforts for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Acknowledging Azerbaijan’s fair position, the MPs said they will try to expand the European society’s awareness about this problem.

Members of the Norwegian and Icelandic Parliaments hailed the works done to improve social and living conditions of the refugees and IDPs in Azerbaijan.

As part of their visit to Azerbaijan, the MPs from Norway and Iceland met with the IDPs temporarily residing in the Binagadi and Garadagh districts of Baku.


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