BAKU (Yerkir Media)—Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday called Armenians occupiers and fascists during a speech at the Euronest Plenary Session, angering the Armenian parliamentary delegation and shocking European officials gathered at the meeting.
In reporting from Baku Tuesday, head of the Armenian delegation and chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary bloc Vahan Hovannesian said that during a meeting with Aliyev Tuesday the president was very welcoming and did not even mention the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
But, in what amounted to an attack on a visiting delegation, on Wednesday Aliyev asserted that Armenia is occupying its territory and called the policies of its neighbor fascist.
“During the plenary session, Aliyev made shocking aggressive statements calling us fascists, occupiers who have desecrated their graves. In short, it was quite an awful speech,” Hovannesian told Yerkir Media. “We are preparing documents now and we’ll distribute them here. We are also going to address the issue in our presentations.”
“Even our European colleagues were shocked. Everyone expected that at least the Armenian delegation would be thanked for participation,” added Hovannesian.
Hovanessian explained that Armenia’s participation in the second assembly of Euronest, the body responsible for implementing the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program (Eop), was welcomed by a cross section of representatives at the conference in Baku.
However, Wednesday’s speech by Aliyev saw many surprised and scrambling for words. Hovannesian said that EU’s Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule attempted to alleviate Aliyev’s attempt to blame the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on Armenia through, what has become common Azeri anti-Armenian rhetoric and propaganda.
Hovanessian explained that the Armenian delegation would provide a rapid response to this overt gesture of discrimination by the president of Azerbaijan.
During the session of Euronest’s Political Affairs Committee on Tuesday a heated discussion took place between Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Prosperous Party of Armenian parliament member Naira Zohrabian who corrected the Azeri minister when he spoke of so-called “occupied territories” of Azerbaijan by Armenia.
In her remarks, Zohrabian said that Mammadyarov was intentionally falsifying historical events and distorting the facts.
“What Mammadyarov is calling ‘occupied’ is nothing but the realization of one of the basic principles of international law that is realization of people’s right to self-determinations,” said Zohrabian.
“The real occupation is that Azerbaijan is currently occupying the Shahumian and Mardakert region,” added Zohrabian.
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Baku is attended by 60-member EU delegation, and the delegations of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia, consisting of ten people each.