Veronika Kotek: “Moscow Declaration is a confirmation of commitments undertaken by Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Council of Europe”

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Veronika Kotek: “Moscow Declaration is a confirmation of commitments undertaken by Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Council of Europe”   Veronika Kotek: “Moscow Declaration is a confirmation of commitments undertaken by Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Council of Europe”   Veronika Kotek – Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Azerbaijan gave an exclusive interview to APA

-What are the comments or opinions of the Council of Europe on the Declaration signed by presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

“We welcome all peaceful steps taken towards the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Our general standpoint is that international and domestic disputes should be settled by peaceful means only and according to principles of international law. This is a specific commitment undertaken by both countries when joining the Council of Europe. We see in the Moscow Joint Declaration a confirmation of this commitment. We also stand behind the mediation efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group.”

-Point 5 of the document envisages that the parties consider it important to encourage creation of conditions for realization of confidence-building measures in a context of efforts on settlement. What role the Council of Europe can play in realization of this point?

“The Council of Europe encourages confidence-building measures, including through peer-to-peer and civil society contacts. Clearly, political will and dialogue is necessary between the parties concerned for this. We aim at fostering such will and dialogue, including through assistance activities but also through, for example, the AGO Monitoring Group of the Committee of Ministers. A peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is vital for the prosperous future of both countries and its citizens, and thus also for the wider Europe.”

-Are there any initiatives put forward by the Council of Europe to strengthen the trust between the conflict parties and communities, which should live in Nagorno-Karabakh after resolution of the conflict?

“Several of our assistance and co-operation activities bring together representatives from the two countries. Sometimes these are officials, and sometimes they are part of civil society, such as NGOs, youth or media representatives. This on-going process to provide the opportunity for exchange of opinions strengthens mutual trust and confidence which is needed for reconciliation between the parties and a sustainable effect of the peace process.” /APA/