October 10, 2013 - 13:44 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Foreign Policy Centre Westminster Seminar event in London, supported by the European Friends of Armenia (EFoA), took stock of the current situation in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
The impact of 2013 Presidential election cycle in Armenia and Azerbaijan, coupled with end of a period of Russian shuttle diplomacy under former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have contributed to a period of inertia in efforts to resolve the conflict. Although the OSCE’s long-running Minsk process has helped prevent a return to war, it has not yet made significant progress in moving the parties in the conflict towards a peaceful resolution, the EFoA said in a press release.
The seminar looked at what opportunities exist in the new negotiation cycle and at the possibilities for reform of the Minsk Group to improve its effectiveness. Speakers were asked to consider the role of both the EU and the UK in working to support conflict prevention and progress in the peace process.
The seminar looked at the current situation in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh regarding attitudes to the conflict and some of the continuing challenges including levels of military spending, conditions in the armed forces, IDPs and refugees.
The event discussed the role of people to people contact in peace-building, looking at the work done by local and international NGOs and the response of the governments in the region to such initiatives. It examined recent sources of tension between the parties from the proposed re-opening of the airport in Karabakh to the axe-killer Ramil Safarov affair, looking at how the international community can help to reduce tensions.
The speakers were: Ambassador Philippe Lefort, the EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia; Dr Laurence Broers, who joined Conciliation Resources as Caucasus Projects Manager in November 2008. Before this he worked for more than two years at Amnesty International as a researcher on Armenia and Azerbaijan; Dr Michael Kambeck, co-founder of European Friends of Armenia and its Secretary General; Craig Oliphant OBE, currently a Senior Advisor on Europe & Central Asia at the London-based NGO Saferworld; Con Coughlin, the Daily Telegraph's Defense Editor and a world-renowned expert on global security and terrorism issues; Gemma Doyle MP, a Shadow Defense Minister, who was elected as the Member of Parliament for her hometown seat of West Dunbartonshire in May 2010.