BRITISH MP SAYS VISIT TO KARABAGH WAS FACT-FINDING
27 Oct 2004
BAKU, OCTOBER 27, ARMENPRESS: Members of a British parliamentary
delegation that visited Nagorno Karabagh last week did not discuss
there a possible recognition of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic because
the British government’s position on this issue remains unchanged,
Gordon Marsden, a member of the British House of Commons, who headed
the delegation of the British interparliamentary cooperation group,
was quoted by Azeri Space TV as saying in Baku.
Marsden said he regretted Azerbaijan’s negative reaction to the
delegation’s visit to Nagorno Karabagh. He said that the British
government and the British embassy in Baku had put it clearly that
this was solely a fact-finding visit. If Azerbaijanis wanted to voice
their position, we would have been happy to listen to them, he said.
As for the fact that they went to Karabagh via Armenia, the British
MP said that Azerbaijan was unable to organize visits to Nagorno
Karabagh via its territory.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said, however, that British MPs have
never appealed to Azerbaijan for assistance to visit Nagorno Karabagh
and this is what caused Baku’s discontent.
Another Azeri mass media outlet, the daily Ekho quoted also a senior
member of the British embassy in Azerbaijan, as saying that the visit
was a private initiative by Baroness Caroline Cox, who is the deputy
speaker of the British House of Lords. The official, Sean Melbourne,
who is an embassy’s secretary for political issues, said during a
meeting with members of the Karabagh Liberation Organization (KLO)
that the British Foreign Office had stated prior to the visit that
such trips ran counter to the British government’s interests and that
the government did not encourage them.
He said the government of British respects Azerbaijan’s territorial
integrity, however, KLO members accused the UK of adopting double
standards in what is related to the Karabagh conflict.