Germany concerned about tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced concern over recent clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh and urged for a peaceful solution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

 Merkel said at a joint press conference with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Berlin on Wednesday: “We are supporting efforts for a negotiated solution and agree that there can only be a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"We are concerned over the increased violations of the ceasefire. We will closely follow the developments."

Referring to Russia's possible involvement in the tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, Merkel said: “Russia and Armenia may be doing some of the things there together."

She also said she and Aliyev had discussed whether a possible initiative by the EU would be helpful for efforts towards a peaceful solution.

- Aliyev criticizes Armenia

Aliyev criticized Armenia for defending the status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh and not withdrawing armed units from the occupied territories, despite demands made by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE.

Nagorno Karabakh is an Armenian-majority region inside the Republic of Azerbaijan, and has attempted several times in the past - through both violent and democratic means - to unify with the Republic of Armenia.

The regional parliament in Nagorno Karabakh voted to declare its independence from Azerbaijan in February 1988.

Armenia's parliament in turn voted to recognize the region’s independence, a move that forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis from Armenia.

Thousands of Azerbaijani civilians lost their lives in the resulting conflict.

- Energy cooperation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Azerbaijan had become an important partner for Germany and the EU, and called for closer cooperation in the field of energy.

“We are strongly supporting the Southern Gas Corridor,” Merkel said, adding the initiative would help the EU to diversify its energy supply.

Aliyev emphasized that Azerbaijan will increasingly play an important role for the energy security of the EU, with major projects like the Trans Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline, or TANAP, and Trans Adriatic Pipeline TAP.

He said TANAP will be operational in 2018 and TAP in 2019.

The TANAP project aims to transport natural gas from the Azerbaijani Shah Deniz 2 field in the Caspian Sea and other Azerbaijani fields through Turkey to Europe.

TAP is the western part of the 3,500 kilometer-long Southern Gas Corridor which will carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea near Azerbaijan to Italy in Europe.

TAP will connect with TANAP on the east at the Greek-Turkish border and will cross to northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea to connect with the Italian natural gas network at southern Italy, stretching 870 kilometers.

TAP's initial capacity will be 10 billion cubic meters (bcm), of gas per year and, with the addition of two extra compressor stations, the capacity could double to 20 bcm in the future to make room for additional supplies to come from the Caspian region, according to the TAP website.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency