Upcoming Session of South Caucasus Parliamentary Initiative to Focus on Karabagh

YEREVAN (Armenpress)-The presidency of the South Caucasus Parliamentary Initiative met in early August to discuss issues relevant to the three member countries: Armenia–Georgia–and Azerbaijan. Armenian Deputy Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosian attended the session.

On the initiative of the British "Links" organization–parliamentarians of the three countries met last year and decided to create the South Caucasus Parliamentary Initiative.

Presenting the details of the latest session–Torosian said the body decided to hold two sessions a year. Ten parliamentarians from each country may attend the sessions; three of the ten will hold permanent status–enabling them to participate in presidency sessions.

The three permanent representatives from Armenia are Deputy Speaker Torosian–leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) block in Armenian Parliament Levon Mkrtchian and Mher Shahgeldian from the Orinats Yerkir (Country of Law) Party.

The participants will discuss various issues of interest to the three sides. The working groups were set up to each focus on one of the following issues: increasing the role of Parliamen’s in the regulation of the South Caucasus conflicts–building democratic states that are able to integrate into European structures–and dealing with the region’s environmental and natural resources.

Slated for the end of the year–the next session will discuss the Karabagh conflict. "No one expects to resolve the conflict during the meeting," said Torosian–adding that a preliminary agreement on a technical approach has nevertheless been reached. For example–each side must present a written opinion of the conflict a month before the session to allow participants and international experts to familiarize themselves with the opinions–and propose possible resolutions to the conflict.

The deputy speaker conveyed that the most important feature of such a session is that the sides can clearly express opinions and listen calmly to the other side. "If this session is successful–it will be a great achievement," said Torosian–adding that this is the first phase of cooperation and the initiative may become stronger in the future.

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