Euro Parliament to Send Investigation Team to Examine Azerbaijan’s Desecration of Julfa Cemetery

STRASBOURG–The President of the European Parliament (EP)–Marie-Anne Isler-Beguin–and the leaders of various parties–approved Thursday the body’s decision to send a delegation to Julfa–in the Nakhichevan region of Azerbaijan.

The aim of the mission is to investigate Azerbaijan’s destruction of the Armenian cemetery in Julfa–a treasure of world architectural heritage that was destroyed and replaced by an Azeri military facility.

EP leaders entrusted this mission to the Commission on EU-Armenia parliamentary cooperation rather than to an ad-hoc delegation–as initially planned.

The mission is being sent in accordance with the Parliament’s resolution "on cultural heritage in Azerbaijan," which was adopted in February of 2006 (P6-TA(2006)0069). This measure "deman’s that Azerbaijan allow missions–including experts working with ICOMOS–who are dedicated to surveying and protecting archaeological heritage–in particular Armenian heritage–onto its territory–and that it also allow a European Parliament delegation to visit the archaeological site at Julfa."

The delegation consists of ten Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who are also members of the Commission of EU-Armenia parliamentary cooperation group. They are set to travel to Julfa as part of their trip to Armenia from April 17-21. Prior to traveling to Julfa–they will need to get the necessary authorization from the Azeri authorities–the same authorities responsible for the desecration of the cemetery.

The delegation will include the following MEPs: Marie-Anne Isler-Beguin–President (France); Arpad Duka-Zolyomi–Vice-President (Slovakia); Alessandro Battilocchio (Italy); Johannes Blokand (The Netherlands); Frederika Brepoels (Belgium); Robert Evans (UK); Siiri Oviir (Estonia); Gabriele Stauer (Germany); Hannes Swoboda (Austria); Tadeusz Zwiefka (Poland).

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