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