BAKU—A delegation of members of Armenian Parliament to Azerbaijan for the second parliamentary assembly of Euronest, the body responsible for implementing provisions of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) program.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Parliamentary bloc chairman and the head of the Euronest delegation Vahan Hovannesian told Yerkir.am that there have been no extraordinary incidents and all meetings were held in a friendly environment.
However, during the session of Euronest’s Political Affairs Committee a heated discussion took place between Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Prosperous Party of Armenian parliament member Naira Zohrabian who corrected the Azeri minister when he spoke of so-called “occupied territories” of Azerbaijan by Armenia.
In her remarks, Zohrabian said that Mammadyarov was intentionally falsifying historical events and distorting the facts.
“What Mammadyarov is calling ‘occupied’ is nothing but the realization of one of the basic principles of international law that is realization of people’s right to self-determinations,” said Zohrabian.
“The real occupation is that Azerbaijan is currently occupying the Shahumian and Mardakert region,” added Zohrabian.
The 11-member delegation from Armenia joined the entire Euronest contingent earlier Monday to meet with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.
According to Hovannesian, the meeting with Aliyev also occurred without incident and the Azeri leader did not event mention the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in his comments. Hovannesian explained that European officials did press Aliyev on violation of freedoms in Azerbaijan, which did not sit well with the president.
Hovannesian explained that during a press briefing with Azeri reporters, the topic of Armenia’s decision to withdraw from the upcoming Eurovision song contest became a focal point. When Hovannesian responded to reporters’ inquiries, the head of Azeri protocol became visibly upset.
Hovanessian was asked to sit down for an interview with Reuters news agency, the reporter was asked to leave the conference hall.
“I guess the press is not as free as Mr. Aliyev claimed to be to his European audience. But then again, this is an internal problem they have,” said Hovannsian.
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Baku is attended by 60-member EU delegation, and the delegations of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia, consisting of ten people each.