STEPANAKERT—On the initiative of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, Martin Sonneborn, a member of the European Parliament from Germany, his chief of office Dustin Hoffmann and journalist Claudia Toursarkissian are on a fact-finding mission in Artsakh, accompanied by EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian and executive director Heghine Evinyan.
Within the framework of the visit, the delegation met with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian, Foreign Minister Masis Mayilyan, Minister of culture, youth and tourism Lernik Hovhannisyan, the Speaker of the National Assembly Ashot Ghulyan and a number of deputies representing all the political fractions in the Artsakh Parliament. Sonneborn and his staff also had an exchange of views with members of the “Friendship Group with Europe” of the Artsakh National Assembly.
During the meetings, the importance of such fact-finding missions was emphasized as a contribution in breaking the isolation imposed on the people of Artsakh and obtaining first-hand information about the reality in the country and the democratic developments in it.
The sides discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the role that the European Union and its member states should play in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. It was stressed that no sustainable solution to the conflict could be found without actively engaging the people of Artsakh in the peace process and without listening to them.
The sides mentioned also the extreme importance of having a functioning civil society in the country which can consolidate the democratic institutions.
Commenting on the visit EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian stated: “As long as the European Union doesn’t pay official visits to Nagorno-Karabakh, we have to multiply our initiatives to strengthen the Parliamentary diplomacy between Artsakh and the European Union and its member states. The fact-finding missions that we organise aim to build bridges and promote the fundamental rights of the people in Artsakh. To give them voice is a top priority for us.”
Later, the delegation visited the demining international organization in Nagorno Karabakh – the HALO Trust and the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies in Stepanakert.
On August 27, before arriving to Artsakh, Sonneborn and his team had a number of meetings in Yerevan, among them Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, with whom they discussed the new political situation after the peaceful transition of power in Armenia and a number of issues related to the stability and peace in the region.