Doc. 8425
28 May 1999

Resolution of ethnic conflicts in Council of Europe member states

Motion for a resolution

presented by Mr Atkinson and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only

the members who have signed it

.       The Assembly remains concerned that a number of ethnic conflicts in member states and special guest states remain unresolved although cease-fires have been in place for some years. These concern Abkhazia in Georgia, Trans-Dnestr in Moldova, Chechnya in Russia, the occupation of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. In addition, of course, the situation in Kosovo is unlikely to lead to a voluntary acceptance of Serbian sovereignty.

2.       All of these disputes are based on demands for independence in response to which the countries concerned have offered 'maximum autonomy'. Negotiations have been at stalemate in each of these for several years with little prospect of resolution in the immediate future.

3.       Whilst the Council of Europe supports in principle the right to self-determination, its member states are bound by the Helsinki Final Act 1975 which recognises only existing frontiers and those that are changed by agreement such as the splitting of Czechoslovakia.

4.       The Assembly believes that whilst no two situations are identical a new initiative should now be considered in its name to come forward with a solution that might be acceptable to the separatist movements based on the successful formula demonstrated by the Aland Islands whose population is predominantly Swedish speaking but which belongs to Finland.

5.       It proposes that its Bureau should consider the matter and authorise the Political Affairs Committee to prepare a report on the Aland Islands, and other similar successful examples of self-determination in an autonomous situation. To this end, particular consideration should also be given to Resolution 1163 (1998) on the agreement on Northern Ireland.

Signed : 1

Atkinson, United Kingdom, EDG

Browne, Ireland, LDR

Bühler, Germany, EPP/CD

Elo, Finland, SOC

Gjellerod, Denmark, SOC

Laakso, Finland, UEL

Libicki, Poland, EDG

Schieder, Austria, SOC

Stepova, Czech Republic, SOC

Toshev, Bulgaria, EPP/CD

1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group