Armenian MP: 'We have no security issues in Baku' - UPDATED
- 22 September 2017
Head of the Armenian delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Armen Ashotyan addressed a conference on the theme “Involvement of the parliaments of Eastern Partnership countries in promoting gender quality and women’s health within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals”, which kicked off in Baku on Friday, APA reported.
“Last time I was in Baku in January 1998. Then I was 13 years old. This was a month before the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. My mother was born in Baku. I don’t know much about the city,” the Armenian MP said.
Ashotyan said he was spending vacations in Baku. “Here we had a house. I knew where I was going. I’m glad that my Azerbaijani colleagues took the initiative to hold the conference in Baku. If there were no such issue on the parliamentary or political agenda, I would be difficult to find another chance to come to Azerbaijan,” he added.
According to the Armenian MP, their trip to Baku was promptly arranged by the Euronest secretariat and Azerbaijan’s delegation to the organization.
“There were some technical problems on the Georgia-Azerbaijan border. They did not believe we would come to Baku. But it did happen. I’m sure this was not politically motivated. Rather it was because the Armenian delegation is not paying periodic visits to Azerbaijan. There is little contact between our countries due to the conflict,” Ashotyan said.
He added that they have no security issues in Baku.
“We came here because Euronest is an essential platform for us. Armenia is about to sign a new agreement with the European Union. The other reason we came here is that such an event could have well been used as an anti-Armenia rhetoric and propaganda in the presence of European MPs. Sadly, we saw such rhetoric in some speeches, but let’s remember that we’re not here to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh issue,” he said.
The Armenian MP said he had been to Shusha and visited the mosque.
“I know that Iranian architects are providing assistance to relevant Armenian institutions in reconstructing the mosque. The mosque is need of it,” he added.
Ashotyan said that the only legitimate format for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the Minsk Group. “ The negotiations are underway in this context, and unfortunately Azerbaijan disrupted the process by resuming the military operations in April last year. Today the activity of the Minsk Group is aimed at restoring trust between the sides. As you know, it was decided during Vienna and St. Petersburg meeting that the mandate of the OSCE monitoring mission should be expanded and the mechanism investigation of incidents on the contact line should be put into practice. The next round of the negotiations can be started only by creating an atmosphere of trust. The Karabakh issue should be resolved peacefully through the the international community's security guarantee, peoples' right to self-determination and territorial integrity. These principles should be at the negotiating table as usual. Currently, it is important that all the parties shouldn’t refuse to take proper steps in this process," said the Armenian deputy.