YEREVAN—The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, being held in Armenia for the first time, adopted a resolution on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, calling on Turkey to reconcile with its past, stressing, that genocide denial is the final stage of genocide and that the absences of unequivocal and timely condemnation of the Armenian Genocide largely contributed to the failure to prevent future crimes against Humanity.
The resolution also reaffirms all EU, UN and other international declarations and resolutions adopted on Crimes against Humanity, and the Armenian Genocide.
This urgent resolution is the third after the European People’s Party (EPP) Political Assembly’s and European Parliament’s report on Human Rights, affirming the recognition and condemnation of the denial of the Armenian Genocide, calling on Turkey and the member states to officially recognise the Armenian Genocide and condemning the denial. The resolution ‘supports the international struggle for the prevention of genocides, the restoration of the rights of people subjected to genocide and the establishment of historical justice’.
European Parliament Member Sandra Kalniete (EPP, Latvia) stressed EPP’s wholehearted support to this resolution, and reminded European People’s Party’s much stricter resolution. European Parliament Member Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, Germany) mentioned that Turkey has to follow Germany’s example, and needs to reconcile with its past. European Parliament Member Kazimierz Michal Ujzadowski (ECR, Poland) reminded Raphael Lemkin, who has coined the term ‘genocide’ based on the Armenian massacres. European Parliament Member Tatjana Ždanoka (Greens/EFA, Latvia) recalled the opening session of the Assembly, by laying wreath at the Armenian Genocide memorial Tzitzernagapert in Yerevan, and that we shall name the crimes with their names, and not wait another a hundred years.
The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) welcomed the Euronest resolution, which reaffirms Europe’s intolerance of genocides, crimes against humanity and denial.
‘This is yet another blow to Turkey’s state denial policy, and a call to recognise the Armenian Genocide and reconcile with its past. Having in mind the format of the Euronest, this is a big achievement by the Armenian delegation’, said Kaspar Karampetian, president of EAFJD. ‘Due to the coordinated efforts of the Armenian delegation, the Republic of Armenia embassy in Belgium, the European Friends of Armenia and the EAFJD, this resolution was adopted in Yerevan, today. This resolution sends a positive signal to the European Parliament as well, which will vote on a resolution on the centennial of the Armenian Genocide on April 15’, concluded Karampetian.
The fourth session of Euronest was officially convened Tuesday at the chambers of Armenia’s National Assembly, during which President Serzh Sarkiasian, Speaker of the National Assembly Galust Sahakyan, Vice-President of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Traian Hristea, and Co-Presidents of the Euronest Parliamentary Delegation Borys Tarasyuk and Heidi Hautala, addressed the attendees.
Attending the session are members of the European Parliament, National Assembly deputies from Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia were present, as well as members of the civic organizations and the international media.
In his opening remarks, Sarkisian welcomed the attendees and stressed the importance of this session being held in Yerevan, which is a sign of Armenia’s willingness to move forward its relations with the EU, accommodating the policies with those of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The President also stressed the democratization and development process of Armenia through the Constitutional reforms to take place.
Vice-President of the European Parliament Czarnecki opened his remarks in Armenian, supporting the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, in this centennial year. Czarnecki stressed that the Euronest is an important component of the Eastern Partnership and that it’s a multilateral platform to further the policies and values of the European Union, and expressed his regret that no Azerbaijani delegation is present in Armenia. Czarnecki also stressed that Euronest ‘must focus on the values and inspirations which unite us, on the inclusive spirit which animates this Assembly, rather than on divisive elements’, a statement which the European Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy (EAFJD) absolutely shares and supports, and many times has raised this issue in multiple fora in the past.
Hautala in her remarks also mentioned the importance of holding this year’s Euronest session in Yerevan, on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, she also mentioned that Armenia is moving forward in her relations with the European Union, and as a co-chair, regretted that the Azerbaijani delegation has decided not to participate in this session in Yerevan.
After the initial welcoming talks, the delegates left for the family photo. The proceeding are underway in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. The Euronest session will be concluded on Wednesday evening.
Prior to the convention of the Assembly, a moment of silence was observed in memory of the first chairman of the Armenian Delegation to Euronest and member of the Euronest Bureau, as well as a Armenian parliament member and Armenian Revolutionary Federation leader Vahan Hovannesian, who passed away last year.
Azerbaijan Boycotts Euronest Assembly
Official Baku announced that it would not attend the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, which kicked off in Yerevan Tuesday.
“Azerbaijan’s refusal to participate in the session shows the country’s attitude toward Euronest, not Armenia,” Artak Zakaryan, Head of Armenia’s delegation to Euronest, told Public Radio of Armenia on Monday after the session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and Civil Society in Yerevan.
“Azerbaijan has sent several explanatory letters to the Euronest leadership to justify it decision not to attend the session. Among the reasons they have cited were the European Parliament’s criticism of the pressure against civil society in the country, the Karabakh conflict. I’m confident that representatives of Azerbaijani civil society have simply been banned from visiting Armenia. This reflects Azerbaijan’s attitude towards Euronest, not Armenia, and the European Parliament has to make conclusions,” added Zakaryan.
The Euronest leadership announced that it has urged Baku to rethink its decision, to no avail.
Sarkisian Slams Baku’s Effort to Transform Euronest into “Propaganda Paltform”
Baku’s official absence from Euronest prompted President Sarkisian to announce that Armenia would not use the Euronest platform for propaganda “to sow inter-ethnic hostility, as is the case with Azerbaijan.”
“We will try to take best advantage of the opportunities provided by this Assembly for the benefit of peaceful coexistence and cooperation of our nations. The best testimony to what I just stated was active participation of the Armenian delegations in a wide range of events that took place in Azerbaijan, including the Ordinary Session that took place in Baku back in 2012. I regret that Azerbaijani side evades meeting us halfway by responding to our steps towards constructive dialogue,” explained Sarkisian.
Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process Sarkisian said It is more disturbing that Azerbaijan demonstrates unconstructive and maximalist stance in the very process of the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict by backtracking on the already agreed points, by consistently trying to change the format of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship or to launch negotiations on the great treaty without registering agreement on the basic principles.
‘It should be obvious that the keys to the settlement of this issue are not located in Paris, Moscow or Washington, but in Baku, Stepanakert and Yerevan. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan invents far-fetched excuses in order to avoid the settlement based on the principles proposed by the Co-Chairs. I think such tactics of that country deserves unequivocal assessment of the international community and European institutions,” said Sarkisian.
“Regardless of Azerbaijan’s unrealistic claims and periodic provocations carried out on the Line-of-Contact there is no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It has been the position of international community, especially in the recent years, that there is no alternative to the comprehensive settlement of this conflict but by the exercise of the people’s right to free expression of their will and self-determination, which is grounded in the European and universal values. This conflict can be comprehensively settled through the free exercise of this right by the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. That is the approach upon which the proposal of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs is built,’ concluded Sarkisian.