Stability and security in the South Caucasus The PRESIDENT (Translation) - The next order of the day is the presentation of, and debate on, the report of the Political Committee on stability and security in the South Caucasus, and vote on the draft recommendation, Document 1879, and three amendments. The PRESIDENT - I call Mr Varvitsiotis. Mr VARVITSIOTIS (Greece) - I congratulate the Rapporteurs on an excellent job. In the Political Committee, we discussed the report over and over again; I followed it from its early stages, so I know how good it is. We must define what our main goal is in getting involved in the South Caucasus. Our main goal should be to promote peace, stability, institution building and economic prosperity. Any act or decision that we take should be aimed at promoting those goals. We should ask members participating in our Assembly to promote those goals themselves, especially when those members are democratic, prosperous and widely recognised throughout the world, as Turkey is. In 17 days, Turkey will get a date for the start of negotiations to gain full membership of the European Union. Turkey's progress in economic and democratic institutions and economic development cannot be compared to that of the countries in the surrounding area. Therefore, we should ask Turkey to act as an agent for stabilisation, prosperity and institution building in the area. It should not, through its actions or neglect, trigger instability. I refer in particular to Turkey's relations with Armenia. The deadlock in bilateral relations is driving Armenia to economic stagnation. I do not agree with the proposal to redraw the borders. We should stick to our decisions and maintain the borders as they are, as we did in the Balkans. I urge Turkey to perform a generous act and take the moral step of recognising the Armenian genocide. After all, it occurred more than 100 years ago. It has been recognised by the majority of EU member states in their national parliaments. That would give Turkey the moral background to build institutions in the area, build good relations and be the European agent for stability and prosperity. To build a future, countries should recognise their past. Every country has committed errors and taken bad decisions that have harmed other people. We in Europe understand that. Genocides have been conducted in the crudest way. Those have been recognised and the victims are friends with their former oppressors and work in community with them. In order to promote the European spirit of reconciliation, I urge Turkey to take that generous step, recognise the Armenian genocide and give Armenia the moral background to recognise the borders with Turkey and have proper and decent economic and political relations. As other members have said, the opening of the border is a crucial step to promoting stability in the area. One thing surprised me. Amendment 1 aims to delete paragraph 6 of the draft recommendation. It has been signed by people who were in the Political Committee. It was the Rapporteur who proposed it and it was voted for unanimously. I urge the Assembly to examine the draft recommendation thoroughly and to vote against Mr Atkinson's amendment.