YEREVAN — Members of the Flemish Parliament (Vlaams Parlement), Ward Kennes (CD&V) and Karim Van Overmeire (N-VA) on Sunday 13 March, 2016 paid a visit to the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide in Tsitsernakapert, paying homage to the 1.5 million victims of the Genocide. They later paid a visit to the Armenian Genocide museum-institute. They were accompanied by two teachers from the Aalst region of Flanders.
Van Overmeire and Kennes are part of an EAFJD led 7-member delegation to Armenia, comprised of teachers, academics and politicians from the Dutch speaking Flemish region of Belgium and the Netherlands. All members of the delegation will be in Armenia on Monday morning, and until Thursday will have meetings with members of the Armenian Parliament, politicians, civil society and educators.
The delegation is also assisted by two members of the Armenian National Committee of Belgium.
National Assembly (NA) of Armenia Vice President Eduard Sharmazanov on Monday received the Delegation of the Belgian and Flemish Parliamentarians, who, after their visit to Armenia, will be in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Sharmazanov highly assessed the role of the Armenian-Belgian and the Armenian-Flemish parliamentarians in the development of the bilateral relations. He expressed confidence that this visit will also be an impetus to further develop and deepen friendly relations.
The NA Vice President Eduard Sharmazanov thanked the vice president of the Flemish Parliament (Senate), Karl Vanlouwe, for taking part in the Armenian Genocide Centennial commemorations and the Global Forum “Against the Crime of Genocide” and for the speech, as well as for the adoption of the resolution by the Flemish Parliament and the Belgian Parliament condemning the Armenian Genocide, and for reaffirming their position on Genocide condemnation. Highlighting the denial of the double standards in condemnation of genocides and the international condemnation of genocides, the Armenian parliament deputy chairman noted that, as the past one-hundred year history has shown, non-condemned crimes give birth to new crimes. In his word, the denial policy of Turkey is a threat not only for the region, but for all mankind, and this attests to the events occurring in the Near East today.
Eduard Sharmazanov thanked the members of the Delegation for their willingness to visit Artsakh, and considered this a good occasion to see the developing democracy with one’s own eyes. He reaffirmed that Armenia sees the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict solely through peace, and based on three international precepts—the peoples’ right to self-determination, territorial integrity, and the non-use of force, or the threat of force— noted and Azerbaijan always refuses two out of them, and misrepresents the problem, and tries to pass different resolutions at different international organizations.
Vanlouwe, for his part, informed his Armenian colleague that their visit to Artsakh envisions for several Flemish and Karabakh schools to cooperate and carry out a series of activities. He added that will be a small step by Flanders toward lifting of the blockade on Karabakh.
Touching upon the Karabakh conflict, the vice president of the Flemish Parliament highlighted, on behalf of himself and his colleagues, the protection of human rights, and in this context, the Karabakh people’s right to self-determination.
In the ensuing talk, the interlocutors touched upon several other matters of bilateral interest, and highlighted the role of Diaspora Armenians in the development of bilateral relations.