Back from Baku: Euronest delegates say, Aliyev’s rhetoric aside, all was good at Assembly session

Back from Baku: Euronest delegates say, Aliyev’s rhetoric aside, all was good at Assembly session

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Members of the Armenian delegation who returned from Baku, Azerbaijan, and the 2nd plenary session of Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, said the meeting was positive, despite the inflammatory rhetoric that grabbed headlines.

Head of the Armenian delegation and chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnaktsutyun) parliamentary faction Vahan Hovhannisyan says that the first day of the session passed quietly, however, the next day Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev started his speech using anti-Armenian statements.

“He [Aliyev] called Armenians ‘occupiers’ and ‘fascists’. This speech had a very negative effect; it was like a cold shower for all delegates. During the break even the Azeri lawmakers approached us and said that they felt bad about Aliyev’s speech, too,” Hovhannisyan says, however not mentioning the names of those lawmakers.

The members of the Armenian delegation say Aliyev’s outburst did more damage to his own country than anything the Armenians might have said even if they tried.

During the session the Armenian delegation was isolated from media. According to Hovhannisyan, mass media representatives managed to approach them only the first day of the session, however, “they were simply driven out.”

“A Reuters’ journalist hardly managed to take [record] two sentences; he was driven out. But I, using my ‘secret revolutionary tricks’, managed to give an interview to a mass media representative,” Hovhannsiyan says.

The members of the delegation are satisfied with the hospitality in Azerbaijan, and the treatment of the hotel personnel. Even walking in Baku they did not feel that they were subject to Azeri hostility.

Head of Heritage parliamentary faction Stepan Safaryan says that they have visited an Armenian church, which was without a cross, and the Armenian primacy, which Azeris have turned into a library.

Referring to the criticism voiced by some press, that the Armenian delegation should have left the hall after Aliyev’s statement, Hovhannisyan says: “We could leave the hall, however, it was our work, we are full members of Euronest, and Azerbaijan was the hosting country, and Aliyev was simply a guest at the Assembly.”