YEREVAN, APRIL 9, ARMENPRESS. Armenian MPs are going to raise the issue of the prisoners of war who are held captive in Azerbaijan, as well as the Azerbaijani vandalism against the Armenian cultural heritage in the territories under its control, during the upcoming session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on April 19.
“Of course, the number one issue will be raising the issue of the POWS in different possible formats both within the frames of the plenary session, the session of the committees and in the political groups. The ongoing Azerbaijani encroachments against the Armenian cultural heritage are also among the key issues, which are not something new, but a continuation of a clearly defined policy. This issue is also under our spotlight”, MP from the ruling MP faction Tatevik Hayrapetyan told Armenpress.
The delegation members assure that they will use that four days to present the post-war situation, also expecting respective assessments over the policy run by Azerbaijan. Currently, the Armenian delegation members are conducting preparation works for achieving their desired result. Like in the past, this time as well both formal and informal meetings with foreign MPs are expected.
Lawmaker from the opposition Prosperous Armenia faction Naira Zohrabyan says it’s definitely possible to raise pressure on Azerbaijan over POWs at the PACE platform. “And we should do everything to increase the international pressure on Azerbaijan at the PACE platform because Azerbaijan is ought to fulfill the provisions of the third Geneva Convention which supposes return of prisoners of war and all captured citizens, after the signing of the trilateral statement. However, Azerbaijan still refuses to do that”, she said.
Zohrabyan also reminded that the European Court has already applied to the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, proposing to apply measures against Azerbaijan as the latter refuses to provide concrete information about the Armenian POWs to the Court.
“We see what is happening. We witness an act of Azerbaijani vandalism almost every day”, the MP said.
In his turn head of the opposition Bright Armenia faction Edmon Marukyan also assured that they will do everything to make the POW issue a subject of discussion. “We will use all our mechanisms”, he said, adding that at this moment the PACE is the only platform where the issue is presented in an influential way. “The PACE is the only body where national parliaments of 47 countries, people who have an impact on the state agenda of their countries, are represented. Therefore, lobbying on that people has an influence on the foreign policy of these 47 countries”, the lawmaker said.
According to MP Tatevik Hayrapetyan, the parliamentary diplomacy is one of the key parts of diplomacy. “It sometimes provides an opportunity for more direct communication, and it can really give very tangible results if applied correctly. We in our turn are trying to maximally use that platform, and PACE is one of these key platforms”, she noted.
A number of important meetings, Q&A sessions will be held within the frames of the PACE session. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will deliver remarks. There will be a discussion also over human rights situation in Turkey.
Interview by Anna Grigoryan
Editing and Translating by Aneta Harutyunyan