Baku, April 15, AZERTAC
Olaf Gutting, Christian Democratic Union member of the Bundestag and the South-Caucasus Friendship Group, gave an interview to the From the Bundestag programme on TV Berlin. He spoke about the recent Armenian provocations in the Nagorno-Karabakh zone of conflict and the process of conflict resolution. He went on to discuss the further development of relations between Germany and Azerbaijan, NATO, the European Union and Azerbaijan, also covering Azerbaijan’s growing role in energy security for Europe.
Although there are some points of dispute with this high profile German politician, in view of the Azerbaijani audience’s interest in a German view of current events in the region, we present here an overview of the discussion and its most significant points:
Olaf Gutting noted with regret that the 25-year-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict had become frozen and slipped out of international attention. Armenia’s armed forces continue illegal occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts, all undisputedly Azerbaijani land.
He focused on the refugees and internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan, noting that Europe and the international community do not pay enough attention to the problem. There are several UN, OSCE and Council of Europe resolutions that clearly indicate that Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the other territories violates international law. The occupation has lasted for over 20 years.
Despite the repeatedly approved decisions and resolutions by international organisations, there has been no progress in their implementation.
The Bundestag member noted that Germany is using all possible means to prevent an escalation of the conflict into a military confrontation. The problem should be solved through negotiation, he said. This needs joint efforts from Europe, NATO and, of course, Russia to achieve that. Azerbaijan, he said, remains committed to its political course and maintains a balanced foreign policy towards both sides.
Olaf Gutting noted that the conflict had not been at the centre of world attention 20 years ago. Back then the West was not as unified on a settlement of the Karabakh conflict as it is now on Ukraine. If there had been a similar approach to the Karabakh issue, then sanctions would have been imposed on Armenia.
This could be a possible solution for the conflict.
In explaining Europe’s need for energy security and diversification of resources, Mr. Gutting emphasised Azerbaijan’s particular role in the energy race as potentially the sixth largest supplier of gas to Europe, and Germany wished to strengthen that role. Any monopolisation of raw materials supplies is dangerous, he stressed:
For this reason it is crucially important to resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Currently, the oil and gas pipelines lie within 100 kilometres of the front line. This presents a threat to European supplies. That’s why Europe must show an interest in resolving the conflict and reaching a satisfactory solution for all parties involved by negotiation. We don’t need another conflict, we need peace.