BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Azerbaijan has welcomed the top-level support it received last week from the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) over the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.
A series of meetings in Azerbaijan, which this month assumed the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, culminated with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov challenging European nations to pay more attention to the so-called "forgotten conflict" within his country's borders.
"Europe must pay more attention to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he told a PACE Standing Committee meeting on Friday, May 23.
In turn, PACE President Anne Brasseur stressed that PACE takes an unequivocal position on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
"The territorial integrity principle is one of the fundamental values," she told the meeting.
"We use it towards not only Ukraine's issue but also towards Azerbaijan. PACE has already commented on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, passed a resolution and supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan."
Baku has welcomed her remarks as vindication of the legal stance it re-stated as the Crimea crisis unfolded this year.
PACE member Elkhan Suleymanov, who campaigns for those affected by the Armenian occupation, reminded the international community that Azerbaijan's cause must be viewed in the same legal context as Ukraine's.
"A law is a law and should never be interpreted differently for different countries," he said.
"I have demanded the European institutions show the same level of support, through declarations and supportive actions for Azerbaijan and its territorial integrity and we welcome the comments from President Brasseur."
Last week Baku hosted meetings of various organs of PACE at which the key themes were the fight against AIDS among migrants and refugees, the rights of migrant children and the alternatives to Europe's substandard Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugee collective centres.
These topics are of special significance to the host nation, as the Armenian occupation displaced about one million people. Two decades later, there are still thousands of IDPs living within a one hour drive of Baku where the PACE meetings were being held.
Azerbaijan's chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers continues until mid-November.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor