YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenia and its neighbor Azerbaijan are set to formally be accepted as full-fledged members to the Council of Europe at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) session–scheduled for January 22-26.
A 30-minute ceremony will take place January 25 at 9 AM. on the first floor of PACE headquarters in Strasbourg–France. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–Council of Europe chairman and PACE chairman–Latvia’s Foreign Minister Indulis Berzins are scheduled to give short speeches.
Afterwards–Armenian President Robert Kocharian–and the Council of Europe chairman and PACE chairman will hoist Armenia’s flag in front of Palais d’Europe. President Kocharian is also scheduled to make a speech before the Council of Europe delegates–then he will meet with the PACE chairmen.
The Armenian delegation–led by Kocharian–will also meet with the chairman of the European Court. The chairman of the Armenian parliament’s foreign relations committee Hovhanes Hovanisian said that Armenia’s accession to the Council of Europe was "a serious achievement of Armenia’s foreign policy." He also said Armenia’s membership in the most respected human rights body in Europe will help solve an extensive range of pressing problems. "Our membership to the Council of Europe lays down the foundations for building an economically and spiritually developed society," he said.
He also stressed a Council of Europe requirement which calls on Armenia and Azerbaijan to solve the long-lasting Karabakh conflict by peaceful means. "In this context–the expected meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Strasbourg may lead to a noticeable progress in seeking a solution to the conflict," Hovanisian said.