“There can be no settlement without respect for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, and the recognition that its sovereignty over these territories must be restored,” said Minister of State for Europe of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland David Lidington as he delivered a speech at the ADA University, SIA reports.
In his speech headlined “Put people at the heart of the solution in Nagorno-Karabakh”, Mr. Lidington emphasized how important it is for the UK and Europe to have a close relationship with a strong and prosperous Azerbaijan.
He said this was his second visit to this beautiful and vibrant city. “Like every infrequent visitor to Baku, I’m astonished on returning to see the pace of development and change. The number of magnificent buildings being erected in Baku, like the award-winning, British-designed Heydar Aliyev Centre, is breathtaking. It is a real pleasure to be here.
UK and Azerbaijani diplomats have an excellent relationship based on trust, respect and honesty. This was perhaps best demonstrated when working together after Azerbaijan’s election to the United Nations Security Council. I am pleased to say that leadership is clearly a quality that Azerbaijani diplomats possess in abundance judging by the fine Ambassadors your country has sent to the UK. Since then, I am glad to say our relationship has continued to grow stronger. The UK is the top destination for Azerbaijani students studying overseas. So we already have a strong and vibrant relationship, which I am proud to look forward to developing even further over coming years.
In 2010 I also talked about the UK’s hope for a peaceful settlement to end the terrible tragedy that is Nagorno-Karabakh.”
According to Minister Lidington “In fact, there have been more fatalities this year than in any other since 1994. This is a conflict that has caused 20 years of lost opportunity. 20 years of continued hostility, hatred and suffering. Every year those forced from their homes as a result of the conflict, continue to suffer the anguish of exile. Many continue to live in very difficult conditions - hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis remain in Internally Displaced Person camps. The suffering of the displaced and dispossessed is a reminder of the continuing human cost of this conflict. Every year the divisions and differences between the two countries and two peoples grow. Every year the possibilities for building a brighter future for the region become more distant.
A peace deal would open up the possibility for hundreds of thousands of displaced people being able to return to their homes. A peaceful resolution would be transformative for the South Caucasus as a whole, enabling the region to develop its full economic potential as a bridge between Europe and Asia. And of course I, and the UK government, strongly support the work of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in trying to achieve a lasting peace.”