Karabakh Accepts Council of Europe Invitation

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–Authorities in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic welcomed an official invitation from the Council of Europe to participate in hearings on the long-running Karabakh conflict–scheduled for November 3 in Strasbourg.

The invitation was extended last week by the secretary-general of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly–Bruno Haller–to the foreign ministers and parliament speakers of Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as the ethnic Armenian government of Nagorno-Karabakh. The purpose of the hearings is to facilitate dialogue between the conflicting parties.

A spokeswoman for Nagorno-Karabakh Republic president Arkady Ghoukassian Friday described the invitation as a "gesture of good will" by the pan-European human rights organization.

Press secretary Zhanna Krikorova told RFE/RL that it reflects growing international understanding of the need for direct contacts between Karabakh Armenia’s and Azerbaijan.

Stepanakert insists that it should treated as an independent party in the Karabakh dispute.

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