MPs from Across Europe Call for "Urgent Action" on Dam in Occupied Nagorno-Karabakh

Jul 01, 2013, 07:07 ET from Azerbaijan Monitor

STRASBOURG, France, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

MPs from 18 European nations have called for "urgent and immediate political action" over the state of the Sarsang Reservoir in Armenia-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh in an emergency motion to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

But Azerbaijan, which initiated the motion, says it is not confident of it getting the attention it deserves given the way other recent motions - which have asked tough questions of Armenia - have been dismissed by PACE.

The motion detailed Azerbaijan's call for "urgent and immediate political action by PACE, stressing the possible result of humanitarian catastrophe of the very poor and dangerous condition of Sarsang reservoir."

It was supported by 45 MPs from nations including Italy, San Marino, United Kingdom, Finland, Bulgaria, France, Poland, Andorra, Spain, Macedonia, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Romania, Lithuania, Ireland and Austria.

The 125 metre dam in question was built in 1976 and is in urgent need of remedial engineering following two decades of neglect by occupying Armenia. Engineers and hydrologists have forecast that should it fail it will inundate more than 30 villages.

But despite the support, Azerbaijan MP Elkhan Suleymanov said late last week he is not hopeful of getting it debated given what he calls the "pro-Armenian bias" of institutions, including PACE.

"In April a motion critical of Armenia's illegal occupation was vetoed in PACE and in May a second motion backed by 31 MPs was given no time for debate. Likewise a motion last week that was sponsored by one tenth of all PACE members is unlikely to be debated," he said.

"At every turn, motions critical of Armenia are made to vanish by PACE."

Azerbaijan fears the situation will get worse now that Armenia has assumed the six-month presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Suleymanov said: "How do you assess the chairmanship of the state, which keeps under military occupation the territories of the other member state?"

But he says he remains committed to using PACE as an "instrument of raising awareness of the illegal occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh".

Despite resolutions in the United Nations, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Parliament, Armenia still occupies 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory, a conflict that has displaced one million people.

SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor