Lord Russell Johnston Hushes Azeri Rhetoric

STRASBOURG (Armenpress)–Head of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s (PACE) monitoring mission to Armenia–Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Lord Russell Johnston presented his report on the country’s presidential elections to the EU Parliamentary Assembly Spring session being held in Strasbourg–France March 31-April 4.

The head of the joint Armenian-European Union commission for parliamentary cooperation–chairman of Armenia’s parliamentary committee on foreign affairs Hovhannes Hovhanesian informed Armenpress today that Lord Johnston’s report of his findings as a PACE monitor during Armenia’s presidential elections–was direct and balanced.

Hovhanesian also revealed that the three representatives of the Armenian delegation–as well as the Azeri delegation were afforded the opportunity to speak at the session. Representatives of the Azeri delegation–specifically Ilham Aliev–attempted to tie the issue at hand to the matter of Nagorno Karabagh–but was immediately condemned by the majority of members of other delegations. The head of the Russian Federation’s Duma commission on foreign affairs Dmitri Rogozhin–as well as representative Vladimir Zhyrinovski–and a French delegate went so far as to state that the Azeri commen’s were not only not constructive–but also not factual.

In his brief remarks–Lord Johnston sated that in his capacity as a member of the PACE monitoring mission to observe Armenia’s presidential elections–he reported certain irregularities. His observation–however–does not imply that there is no progress in Armenia; it does not imply that Armenia is not making strides toward democracy.

Referring to the commen’s of the Azeris–Lord Johnston pointed out that they–in no way–have the right to compare Azerbaijan to Armenia because–in fact–Armenia is one step ahead of Azerbaijan–reported Hovhanesian.

The session ended with Lord Russell Johnston’s commen’s. The April 2 session will elect an Armenian delegate to the European Court of Human Rights.

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