STEPANEKERT (RFE/RL)–An official delegation from the Council of Europe Thursday continued its two-day visit to Nagorno-Karabakh–meeting local non-governmental groups–journalists and ethnic Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan.
The delegation–representing the Council’s parliamentary assembly arrived in Stepanakert on Wednesday and held talks with the leadership of the unrecognized republic the same day.
The visit is part of its wider tour of the three Transcaucasian countries aimed at assessing their conformity with norms set by the pan-European organization.
Officials in the delegation told reporters in Stepanakert that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict does have an impact on Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s chances of gaining full membership in the Council of Europe.
According to them–the Council is ready to assist international efforts to bring lasting peace to the Transcaucasus and help all regional states become "part of Europe." Armenia–Azerbaijan and Georgia presently enjoy a special guest status in the Council–pending a final decision on the full membership.