South Caucasus Leaders Meet During PACE Session

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The situation in the Middle East was the main issue discussed during the PACE spring session held on April 22-26 in Strasbourg.

Head of the Armenian delegation in PACE–Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Relations Hovhannes Hovhannissian said at a April 29 news conference that the representatives of Israel and Palestine had been invited to the discussions–and represented the positions of their countries.

To conclude the discussions–a decision was made–though the efforts of this international structure produced no results since military operations have not been withdrawn yet.

According Hovhannissian–both sides of the argumen’s were persuasive–but the sympathies of the session participants were mostly with Palestine.

The report of the monitoring carried out in Russia was also discussed. According to the report–positive shifts have been registered in the country as far as the fulfillment of obligations before the Council of Europe is concerned–except the problem connected with Chechnya.

Russia–as it was pointed out–will continue to be monitored.

A meeting of the Heads of the South Caucasian countries was also held in Strasbourg–during which a decision was made to periodically hold such meetings. Hovhannissian said that in the fall of 2003–the third assembly of the heads of the CE member-countries will be called.

It will be held in one of the countries of the European Union.

The activities of the Council of Europe as a political Institute and the possible structural changes will be discussed during the assembly.

The PACE Commission on Nature Protection will be held in Armenia January 12-15.

Nearly 60 deputies have applied for the participation in the meeting.

The first of the two planned conferences to be held within the meeting will be held in Sevan.

The second conference will be held in Metsamor and will be devoted to the issues of safety of the Armenian nuclear power plant’s operation.

Members of the PACE Commission on Monitoring will visit Armenia August 18-23–and the monitoring group of the Ministerial Committee of the Council of Europe on May 15-17.

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