Azeri, Armenian, Georgian Speakers Discuss Regional Issues in France


Noyan Tapan news agency, Yerevan
5 Nov 04


The third meeting of the parliament speakers of the three South
Caucasus countries was held at the Versailles Palace under the aegis
of French Senate President Christian Poncelet on 4 November. It was
attended by the chairman of the Armenian National Assembly, Artur
Bagdasaryan, the chairwoman of the Georgian parliament, Nino
Burjanadze, and the chairman of the Azerbaijani Milli Maclis, Murtuz
Alasgarov. Subjects agreed in advance – tourism and the evaluation of
cultural heritage – topped the agenda.

Senate President Christian Poncelet noted the importance of meetings
between representatives of the parliaments of the South Caucasus
countries and expressed the hope that these discussions will make it
possible to find a solution to problems in the South Caucasus.

The chairwoman of the Georgian parliament, Nino Burjanadze, noted the
importance of the Versailles discussions and stressed that political
problems should not hinder a solution to cultural problems.

The chairman of the Azerbaijani Milli Maclis, Murtuz Alasgarov, spoke
about the common problems of the region, the importance of peace and
stability and stressed the great importance of the Paris discussions.

The chairman of the Armenian National Assembly, Artur Bagdasaryan,
noted the importance of the dialogue and discussions for the
development of the region and the settlement of common problems.

The public relations department of the Armenian National Assembly told
Noyan Tapan news agency that during the discussions on the subject of
cultural heritage, the Azerbaijani deputies did not omit to say that
Armenia is an “aggressor” and spoke about occupied territories,
refugees and the alleged destruction of Azerbaijan’s cultural
monuments on these territories, although Poncelet repeatedly called on
them to return to the crux of the matter.

Artur Bagdasaryan objected and stressed that the roots of the story
date back to genocide in the early 20th century and there are
thousands of facts testifying to the opposite, i.e. Armenian cultural
monuments are being destroyed both in Azerbaijan and Turkey. The
chairman of the Armenian parliament called on them to move forward
since hostility is not the best companion and said it is necessary to
think about the development of the region, especially as the region is
of interest to the whole world as a single whole both from a political
and commercial-economic point of view. Political problems should not
impede good will and courage to cooperate on various issues. Apart
from bringing their national legislation in line with European
standards, the parliaments also have an important political mission of
creating an atmosphere for settling conflicts in the three republics.

It was decided to hold the next meeting of the four in Azerbaijan and
then in Armenia – in (Russian) alphabetical order. It was decided that
from now on, the meetings should be held twice a year in order to
increase the effectiveness of the discussions.

The meeting ended with a joint press conference where the parliament
speakers noted the importance of the work of the four. The president
of the French Senate expressed his satisfaction that specific
agreements on further activities were reached for the first time. The
chairman of the Armenian National Assembly, Artur Bagdasaryan, noted
the importance of developing democracy in the region, which will
ensure the region’s political and economic development, open an
opportunity to settle conflicts and make the entry of the region’s
countries into the European Union possible in the foreseeable future.