UK Foreign Secretary emphasises Azerbaijan’s role in ensuring energy security

Press Release: Responding to a question in the House of Commons on 4 March, during a debate on the Ukrainian crisis and the escalating threat of Russia, the Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, UK Foreign Secretary, commented on the future role of Azerbaijan in maintaining European energy security. He said: “We are doing important things now to diversify energy supplies to Europe. I have already mentioned the new pipeline through Azerbaijan, whose construction we inaugurated in December.

Referring to recent events in Ukraine and the vital importance of energy security, Mr Hague said: “What has just happened will be a sharp reminder to everyone in Europe and in this country that this is an important issue. Dealing with this will become one of the important foreign policy and security considerations over the next few years.”

Douglas Alexander MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, stressed the importance of territorial integrity. He said: “The inviolability of Ukraine’s borders and territorial integrity reflects deeply held principles of the international system. The situation on the ground certainly remains tense, uncertain and, indeed, vulnerable to misunderstanding or misjudgement.”

This statement has resonance with Azerbaijan, where 18 per cent of its territory remains under Armenian occupation, resulting in 875,000 Azerbaijani Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugees being spread across the country. Four UN Security Council resolutions have since been passed, instructing Armenia to withdraw her armed forces, but these remain unimplemented.

Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS, watched the debate and commented: “What is happening in Ukraine is deeply concerning. Hopefully, once the current crisis is resolved, the West will turn its focus once again towards finding a solution to the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions, so that close to one million Azerbaijanis will be free to return to their homes and lands.”