Authorities in Moldova disavowed on Friday a statement by one of the country’s officials accusing Armenia of committing genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh during the war with Azerbaijan.
Aurelia Grigoriu, who is one of Moldova’s four human rights ombudspersons, made the statement in Yerevan on Thursday while attending a conference on European standards for the rule of law that was organized by the Council of Europe.
“Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, perpetrating a genocide of Azerbaijanis,” Grigoriu declared. “The genocide in [the Karabakh town of] Khojali was carried out by Armenians, and that is now an internationally recognized fact.”
The allegation provoked angry rebuttals from senior Armenian lawmakers participating in the forum. They accused Grigoriu of acting on orders from Azerbaijan and even accepting money from it.
Armenian media outlets were quick to publicize photographs from Grigoriu’s Facebook page that purportedly expose her warm feelings toward Azerbaijan. In particular, the Moldovan official posted on June 7 a picture of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev along with a quote from him.
Victor Popa, a member of Moldova’s Constitutional Court also visiting Yerevan, criticized Grigoriu’s behavior on Friday. He said he discussed the “extremely unpleasant incident” with the leadership of the Moldovan parliament, which appoints the ombudspersons officially known as “parliamentary advocates.”
“I am authorized to state that we regret what happened,” Popa told reporters. “Our leadership is promising that the incident will be investigated. I suppose that they will set up a commission that will examine what information she received and on whose behalf, and the scope of responsibilities. There will be an official explanation for all that.”
“Regardless of where that information came from, this was not the right place and she was not the right person to make such a statement,” Popa said.
Azerbaijan, meanwhile, welcomed Grigoriu’s remarks. “The Moldovan ombudsperson’s speech in the Armenian parliament proves that the international community cannot put up with Armenia’s militarist and aggressive policy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev told the APA news agency.