Europarliament Head Meets Caucasus Parliamentary Leaders

PARIS (Noyan Tapan)–The speakers of the Armenian–Georgian and Azeri parliamen’s met Thursday evening with chairman of the European Parliament Russell Johnston and signed an agreement to continue tri-partite relations under the auspices of the Europarliament.

Armenia’s Armen Khachatrian–Georgia’s Zurab Zhvania and Azerbaijan’s Mortuz Aleskerov agreed to continue tri-partite efforts to resolve regional issues.

The sides also articulated their views on the Chechnya conflict–with Georgian and Azeri leaders expressing concern that the conflict might spill into South Caucasus.

Johnston said that a Europarliament delegation would visit Russia and the Caucasus in the near future.

The Armenian delegation returned to Yerevan Friday.

Upon his return–Khachatrian praised the results of the Paris talks

The participants of the meeting discussed the problems concerning the defense of human rights and the creation of inter Parliamentary relations which would help to develop economic co-operation in the region.

The sides agreed to establish a security zone in the Caucasus to support the development of trade and economic relations.

Khachatrian also took part in the session of the French National Assembly and held meetings with National Assembly leaders who stressed that Armenia’should adopt laws corresponding to European standards for becoming a full member of EC.

The Armenian parliamentary delegation led by Khachatrian arrived in Paris Monday upon the invitation of Chairman of the French Senate Christian Poncelet. Khachatrian attended a meeting of speakers of the three South Caucasus republics–which was organized by the French Senate Chairman at the Versailles Palace. The meeting was aimed at establishing political and economic cooperation among the three countries.

On December 14 at the Armenian Embassy in France Khachatrian met with representatives of the Armenian community of France. Khachatrian briefed those present on the economic and political situation in the country–noting that the people tried to unite when Karen Demirchian and Vazgen Sargsyan combined their efforts.

"All our factions follow the same constructive tendency that was seen at the National Assembly–where everyone thinks not only about criticizing–but also making proposals. Everyone has the right to express their will," he said.

He also noted that there is an atmosphere of mistrust that emerged in Armenia after the October 27 killing. He stressed that decisions taken by Demirchian and Sargsyan must be fulfilled.

Linking immigration to the absence of a strong economy–Khachatrian said–"We are a thousand times more interested in improving the socio-economic conditions in Armenia. Loans must be used properly–and not misappropriated."

Leader of the Unity bloc of the National Assembly of Armenia Andranik Margarian said that the bloc does not push for the president’s resignation–while the Minister for Coordination of Industrial Infrastructure Vahan Shirkhanian spoke solely on his behalf.

Concerning the Karabakh issue Armen Khachatrian moved forward an idea that the problem could be solved through a referendum–as no one has the right to impose his decision on a people. He considered the settlement of the conflict very important for the development of Armenia’s economy.

At a news conference in Paris Khachatrian noted that the resolution on the Genocide of Armenia’s adopted by the parliament of France–will be finally endorsed by the Senate. According to him–the final settlement of this issue was delayed for political reasons.

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