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German Local Government Head Visits Karabakh


Nagorno Karabakh - Bako Sahakian (F from R), president of Nagorno Karabakh, meets with Matthias Wilkes (C, L), chief executive of the Bergstrasse district in the German state of Hesse, Stepanakert, 04Apr2013.

Nagorno Karabakh - Bako Sahakian (F from R), president of Nagorno Karabakh, meets with Matthias Wilkes (C, L), chief executive of the Bergstrasse district in the German state of Hesse, Stepanakert, 04Apr2013.

The head of an administrative district in western Germany ended on Friday a two-day visit to Nagorno-Karabakh which he hopes will lead to direct cooperation between the two entities.

Matthias Wilkes, who governs the Bergstrasse district in the German state of Hesse, became the first German local government official to visit Karabakh.

His trip is likely to provoke an angry reaction from Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government has blacklisted scores of European politicians and other dignitaries that travelled to the disputed territory without its permission.

“I was making my third visit to Armenia and decided to travel to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as well,” Wilkes told journalists in Stepanakert late on Thursday after meeting with Karabakh’s President Bako Sahakian and Prime Minister Ara Harutiunian.

“It was a great honor for me to be received by the president of Nagorno-Karabakh. We discussed ways of starting cooperation in the areas of culture and education,” he said.

Wilkes added that relations with Karabakh will also enable the latter to increase public awareness of the Armenian-controlled territory in Europe. He said the Bergstrasse administration plans to organize a forum on Karabakh and he invited Harutiunian to take part in it.

According to Sahakian’s press office, the Karabakh Armenian leader discussed with Wilkes “establishment and development of relations between Hesse and Artsakh.” It quoted Sahakian as saying that his unrecognized republic is “interested in cooperation with Germany and its separate entities, considering that valuable in the political, economic and humanitarian senses.”

The office added in a statement that Sahakian welcomed the German local government’s offer to assist in the teaching of the German language in Karabakh schools and colleges.
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