ARF Bureau Meets With Spanish Officials

YEREVAN (ARF Press)–ARF Bureau member and Armenian National Committee of Europe Chairman–Mario Nalbandian–met in Madrid on Wednesday with Rafael Estrella–a member of the socialist faction of the Spanish Parliament and president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly is the inter-parliamentary organization of legislatures from the member countries of the NATO Alliance as well as 17 Associate members–which include Russian and Georgia. The Assembly provides a critical forum for international parliamentary dialogue on an array of security–political and economic matters.

Recent regional developmen’s as well as the need to secure stability in the South Caucasus were among the issues discussed during the meeting. Negotiations on the Karabakh peace process were also discussed.

Nalbandian brought Estrella’s attention to the destabilizing role played by Turkey–which is evident in its reserved policy toward NATO.

Estrella said he plans to visit the region after October even though the Azeri press reported he will visit Baku in September to discuss Azerbaijan’s application to become a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

The ARF Bureau representative also emphasized the need to refrain from one-sided discussions of regional issues with the absence of either side. Nalbandian described his meeting with Rafael Estrella as constructive and helpful.

Mario Nalbandian is also the ARF representative to the worldwide Socialist International organization. Separate meetings were held on Wednesday between Nalbandian and international relations secretary Khimen’s Trinidad of the Spanish Socialist Party–and Maria Solanas–who is responsible for the party’s international relations and European issues department.

Issues involving Armenia’s current situation–political developmen’s–a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict and the ARF’s role in the political life of Armenia were discussed during the meetings.

Also discussed was the need to strengthen relations between the two political parties. After careful examination–areas of cooperation were specified between the two sides.

The state of thousands of Armenian immigran’s in Spain was also touched upon during the meeting–in light of the adoption of strict laws by the Spanish authorities against immigration. The Spanish socialists expressed their disapproval of such laws.

The meetings held with the Spanish Socialist Party are part of the ARF Bureau’s decision to strengthen relations with socialist parties worldwide. Similar meetings have been held between the ARF and the socialist parties of Greece–Cyprus–and Great Britain over the past nine months.


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