Germany’s former ambassador to Armenia, Hans-Jochen Schmidt, met with senior officials in Stepanakert on Monday during yet another private visit to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Schmidt, who headed the German diplomatic mission in Yerevan from 2009-2012, was reported to discuss with Arayik Harutiunian, Karabakh’s state minister primarily responsible for economic policies, the socioeconomic situation in the Armenian-populated territory.
A Karabakh government statement said Harutiunian briefed him on recent economic developments and “a number of investment projects.”The retired German diplomat, for his part, “presented details of his visit and forthcoming plans.”
The two men also spoke about “prospects for cooperation between Karabakh and Germany in some sectors of the economy,” the statement added without elaborating.
Schmidt also had a separate meeting with Masis Mayilian, the Karabakh foreign minister. According to Mayilian’s press office, they discussed international efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict and the unrecognized republic’s contacts with the outside world.
Schmidt is known to have also visited Karabakh on at least two occasions in the past, most recently in September 2016. Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, awarded him a “medal of gratitude” at the time. Schmidt reportedly called for more political and people-to-people contacts between the European Union and Karabakh.
“I always thought that it is impossible to be informed about Karabakh without visiting it,” he told the local Artsakhpress news agency. In that regard, he criticized Azerbaijan for blacklisting non-Armenian foreign dignitaries travelling to the region.
Schmidt, 70, is one of the founding members of the German-Armenian Forum (DAG), a group set up in Berlin in 2015 to “promote mutual understanding between Germans and Armenians and safeguard the interests of Armenians living in Germany.”