June 17, 2014 - 18:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The first day of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Rose Roth seminar in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 16 June 2014, was marked by exchanges between Azerbaijani and Armenian parliamentarians on the protracted conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. This was the first time an Armenian delegation was able to attend a NATO PA seminar in the Azerbaijani capital, NATO PA official website said.
NATO PA President Hugh Bayley (United Kingdom) addressing the opening session of the seminar called for “concrete steps to reduce tensions, promote confidence-building, co-operation and eventually reconciliation” between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He warned that there was and could be no military solution to the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. “The only way forward is through dialogue, compromise, and cooperation”, Bayley insisted. In this regard, the NATO PA President welcomed the participation of MPs from Yerevan at the seminar, thanking both the Azerbaijani and Armenian delegations “for the constructive spirit, political will, and commitment they have demonstrated, and which has laid the basis for this unprecedented and important breakthrough”.
Exchanges between Azerbaijani and Armenian MPs highlighted the profound divergences of views and the mistrust which continue to hamper peace efforts 20 years after the ceasefire which put an end to active fighting and opened the way to settlement negotiations under the Minsk Group co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States. Officials and experts addressing the seminar agreed that Baku and Yerevan’s positions remained far apart, and warned of ongoing instability on the ground. They stressed, however, that a recent resumption of direct talks between the Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents and a new sense of urgency connected with the crisis in Ukraine, could provide renewed impetus for progress. This would require building on the already agreed so-called “basic principles” for a settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, focusing on realistic confidence-building measures, and engaging civil society in co-operation and reconciliation initiatives.