The EU will keep working with Turkey in order to help settle conflicts and stop hostilities, such as those between Armenia and Azerbaijan, said the EU foreign policy chief on Wednesday.
Responding to an EU parliamentarian’s repeated demands that the EU “act” against Turkey over its alleged involvement in the Upper Karabakh conflict, Borrell said: “We will remind the two sides of the obligation to protect civilians on the [basis of] international humanitarian law, and also keep working with Turkey.”
But he clarified: “If you mean by ‘act,’ taking military action, it is completely out of the question.”
Borrell said he found it concerning to hear Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday expressing full support to Azerbaijan during a visit there as well as Ceyhun Bayramov, Azerbaijan’s foreign minister, saying Armenia must withdraw its occupying troops before the two sides can begin talks.
But he added that the EU will do whatever it can do using only the resources of the diplomatic arena, pointing to the OSCE Minsk group.
The ongoing clashes began on Sept. 27, when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Multiple UN resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the invading forces.
The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was reached in 1994.
Several countries, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged an immediate cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense.
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