TBILISI (Itar-Tass)–Parliament speakers Zurab Zhvania of Georgia–Karen Demirchian of Armenia– Murtuz Aleskerov of Azerbaijan and the chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe–Russel Johnston–signed a joint declaration in Tbilisi Wednesday.
The document confirms their intention to continue cooperation between the parliamen’s of the three countries in the field of human rights and to hold tripartite meetings twice a year–one in Strasbourg and one in the region.
The declaration also specifies the functions of a three-party parliamentary working group which will implement decisions adopted at the current parliamentary seminar being under held under the auspices of PACE in Tbilisi and work out the agenda for the next seminar to be held in Strasbourg in the spring of 2000.
Zhvania described Wednesday’s two-hour meeting behind closed doors as "historic."
He told journalists that this meeting and the upcoming meeting of the prime ministers of the South Caucasus countries are part of preparations for a summit of the presidents of Georgia–Armenia and Azerbaijan are scheduled to attend at the end of the year.
Demirchian said one of the issues discussed at the meeting with his Georgian and Azeri counterparts was the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said the meeting was held in the atmosphere of "mutual understanding".
Aleskerov welcomed the meeting in Tbilisi and named among its main results the agreement to hold the next meeting "which is most likely to take place in Strasbourg."