YEREVAN (Armenpress)—Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian received the delegation led by Els Van Hoof, MP of the Chamber of Representatives of the Kingdom of Belgium, and Head of the Belgium-Armenia parliamentary friendship group, said the presidential press service.
The President welcomed the guests to Armenia and highlighted the importance of the role of the parliamentary diplomacy and strengthening inter-state relations. Sarkisian stated that Belgium is perceived as a friendly and reliable partner in Armenia, and expressed hope that the Belgian parliamentarians’ visit to Armenia will boost bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields.
Sarkisian welcomed the MPs’ visit to Nagorno-Karabakh as well where they will have a chance to directly get acquainted with the essence of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and better understand the Artsakh people’s aspirations, concerns, everyday life and its achievements over the past 25 years.
Sarkisian expressed gratitude toward the Belgian leadership and people for recognizing the Armenian Genocide stating that the Armenian people appreciate this step and accept it as Belgium’s firm commitment over the condemnation and prevention of genocide.
At their meeting, both sides highlighted the parliamentary active contacts and the activity of the friendship group aimed to strengthen and deepen relations between Armenia and Belgium.
At the meeting, Sarkisian awarded Belgian MP Georges Dallemagne with a Medal of Gratitude for his significant input on the development of the Armenian-Belgian friendly ties and expansion of the parliamentary cooperation between Armenia and Belgium. Sarkisian said Dallemagne has also worked in Armenia in 1988 as a doctor after the devastating earthquake.
Dallemagne said this medal is a great honor for him and that for 28 years, Armenia is in his heart, and is ready to contribute to the development of Armenia and its people.
On the same day, Armenia’s Parliamentary Speaker Galust Sahakyan received the Belgian delegation.
Welcoming the guests, the Sahakyan highlighted the advancement of interaction and dialogue between legislative bodies of the two countries, which, in turn, promotes the development of inter-state relations.
Sahakyan expressed gratitude toward the Belgian legislatures for recognizing the Armenian Genocide in 2015.
He welcomed the Belgian MPs upcoming visit to Nagorno-Karabakh.
“These visits neutralize the information isolation of Nagorno-Karabakh and make the Karabakh people’s voice heard in Europe, who strives for the recognition of freedom, justice and right to self-determination,” Sahakyan said.
Speaking about the Karabakh conflict, the Sahakyan touched upon the four-day war in April and noted that Azerbaijan flagrantly violated the ceasefire agreement inflicting many casualties. In this context, he emphasized that the peaceful settlement of this conflict is one of the most important priorities of our country’s foreign policy. According to him, Armenia sees the settlement of the conflict exclusively through peaceful means under the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
Attaching importance to the cooperation of the two country’s parliamentarians through international organizations, Sahakyan noted that during the PACE Winter Session, Armenia received great support from the Belgian delegation to PACE at the voting against the one-sided resolutions on Karabakh submitted by Azerbaijani lobbyists distorting the reality.
Hoof expressed gratitude for the warm reception, highlighted the strengthening of the Belgium-Armenia parliamentary friendship group activities. Underlining the adoption of the resolution recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, he noted that all forms of genocides should be condemned for the exclusion of their repetition.
Regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Hoof quoted Federica Mogherini saying “At the beginning of April, the violence surged to a level that was unprecedented since the ceasefire agreement in 1994.”
Hoof mentioned that they believe in the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ activities and added that they see the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through peaceful negotiations within the OSCE Minsk Group. She stated that a political dialogue should take place for the conflict settlement and expressed willingness within their competence to contribute to the conflict settlement.
The Belgian delegation visited Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial later the same day.
They were accompanied by National Assembly MP and head of Armenia-Belgium friendship group Shirak Torosyan, according to Armenia’s parliamentary press service.
The Belgian parliamentarians laid flowers at the Eternal Flame and paid tribute to the memory of innocent victims with a moment of silence.
They also visited the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, got acquainted with the documents and exhibits about the Armenian great tragedy.
The guests left notes in the Honorary Guest Book.