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Azeri Lawmakers Visit Armenia Amid Protests


Armenia - People protest against the participation of Azerbaijani lawmakers in a session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in Yerevan, February 22, 2022.

Two members of Azerbaijan’s parliament faced angry protests in Yerevan on Tuesday as they attended a meeting of lawmakers from the European Union and ex-Soviet states involved in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program.

They were the first Azerbaijani officials to visit Armenia since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh. One of them, Tair Mirkishili, was among several senior members of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly received by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Monday.

Speaking at a Euronest session held the following day, Mirkishili repeated Baku’s claims that the Azerbaijani victory in the six-week war put an end to the Karabakh conflict.

“Since the conflict is over, Azerbaijan has expressed readiness for a demarcation and delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border,” he said. “I am glad to note that we have received a number of positive signals from Armenia in this regard.”

Armenian members of Euronest representing the ruling Civil Contract party insisted that the conflict remains unresolved.

“You can’t consider the conflict to have been resolved … without eliminating its causes,” one of them, Arman Yeghoyan, said. “And the causes are still there. Moreover, they have deepened further. Azerbaijan’s Armenophobic policy is getting stronger and stronger.”

Armenia - The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly's Bureau holds a meeting in Yerevan, 22Feb2022
Armenia - The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly's Bureau holds a meeting in Yerevan, 22Feb2022

Yeghoyan’s remarks seemed to contrast with Pashinian’s repeated statements to the effect that transport links with Azerbaijan and Turkey will significantly benefit the Armenian economy and help to usher in an “era of peaceful development” in the region.

As the Euronest session began its work at a conference hall in Yerevan hundreds of angry people rallied outside it protest against the arrival of the Azerbaijani parliamentarians. The protesters said their visit is an affront to the memory of at least 3,800 Armenians killed in the 2020 war.

Mutual visits by Armenian and Azerbaijani officials and other citizens of the two warring nations are extremely rare. They usually take place within the framework of multilateral events. Baku minimized such contacts in the early 2000s.

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