Brit Parl. Members Strongly Impressed by Their Visit to Armenia & NK


YEREVAN, October 23 (Noyan Tapan). “We saw here a small land that has
a big heart, great culture and great expectations for the future, a
land whose history has been very long and cultural traditions have
been very great.” This is the impression made by Armenia on the
delegation of the British group of the Interparliamentary Union. The
delegation is headed by Gordon Marsden, member of House of Commons of
the UK and representative of the Labor Party. The delegation’s mission
is to provide their collegues with inf]ormation about today’s Armenia
after returning to Great Britain. Summarizing the results of a
one-week visit to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh at the October 22 press
conference, the members of the delegation comprised of representatives
of the two Houses of the British parliament noted that during this
cognitive visit they had numerous meeting with representatives of both
the executive and legislative authorities, as well as NGOs and arrived
at the conclusion that no efforts are spared to overcome many problems
which have arisen after the collapse of the Soviet Union, such as
difficulties in building the civil society, in the social, cultural
and other spheres. However, according to G.Marsden, besides these
problems there are others: the problems related to the history of the
Armenian nation, in particular complicated relations with Turkey and
Azerbaijan. The delegation members pointed out that their aim is not
to make judgements and give political opinions, however, they cannot
but respond to the optimism about overcoming the existing problems
that different sections of Armenia’s and Nagorno Karabakh’s population
have. The members of the British parliament are also convinced that
Armenia’s involvement in the EU neighborhood policy will allow to
strengthen the country’s links with the EU and to expect some
assistance in a number of spheres. After paying a short visit to
Nagorno Karabakh the delegation was especially impressed by how
quickly – only in 15 years the ruinous consequences of the Soviet
Union collapse and the war have been eliminated. The British MPs
pointed out that they had visited Artsakh in order to become
acquainted with the situation on the spot and not to discuss the
status of Karabakh. They stressed that the British government’s
opinion of the Nagorno Karabakh issue has not changed. The progress
and development taking place in Nagorno Karabakh surprised not only
those delegation members who visited it for the first time but also
member of the UK House of Lords baroness Caroline Cox, for whom “it
was an honor to be with Karabakh during those dark and difficult
years.” Reluctant to discuss quite delicate issues from political
point of view, the baroness nevertheless mentioned that during the
talks with them the Nagorno Karabakh authorities considered as most
undesirable the political solution of the problem, whose “result would
be Nakhichevan.” As for the displeasure in Baku caused by the
delegation’s visit, the delegation members considered the protest
staged at the British embassy as regrettable. According to them, if
the Azeris also wanted to make their views heard, the delegation
“would equally be glad to listen to them too.” According to the
delegation head, Karabakh was visited through Armenia’s territory
because “at present Azerbaijan cannot provide the opportunity to reach
Nagorno Karabakh.”