PACE to Decide on New Karabakh Hearing Date

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe–which was scheduled to begin hearings on the Karabakh conflict Tuesday but postponed them due to Azerbaijan’s unwillingness to participate–is expected to announce a new date for the hearings.

PACE invited Armenia–Karabakh and Azerbaijan to take part in comprehensive hearings on the Karabakh conflict–creating an unprecedented atmosphere of dialogue between the parties to the conflict. Azerbaijan declined to participate–since Karabakh was invited as a side to the conflict.

The leader of the Armenian delegation to PACE Armen Martirossian said the cancellation was unfortunate since the decision to hold hearing was made in August and the invitation to Strasbourg was presented in September.

"Azerbaijan–on the other hand–two months after the invitation told the Council of Europe that it had misunderstood the invitation," and decided not to attend.

"It is unfortunate that because of Azerbaijan’s non-constructive approach–we are wasting time–since the hearing promised a new impetus to the peace process initiated by the OSCE Minsk Group. Today–however–we are forced to involve ourselves in deciding a new date [for the hearings]," state Martirossian.

The Armenian representative categorized Azerbaijan’s posturing toward the PACE initiative as a boycott.

"If there was any misunderstaning they [Azeris] could have addressed it during the two months," said Martirossian who said that the Azeri response of a "misunderstanding" 10 days prior to the scheduled hearings–can be deemed as nothing but a boycott.

Martirossian added that several Azeri leaders told the press that their position stemmed from the invitation extended to Karabakh as a side to the conflict.

However–Martirossian added–the Azeris did not make mention of this issue in their response letter to the Council of Europe.

"Thus we have agreed to enter discussions for a new date. If this political body is influenced by the Azeris and decides to–once again–address the format of the meeting–then we will be forced to evaluate the benefits of such a hearing," Martirossian concluded.


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