BRUSSELS—After his first fact-finding mission in Artsakh in August 2018, Member of the European Parliament Martin Sonneborn (NI, Germany) is once again in Artsakh, this time leading a delegation of 25 members. The delegation includes a number of German professors, writers, journalists and Die Party members, who are accompanied by the President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy Kaspar Karampetian, Executive Director Heghine Evinyan, and Project Manager Ashkhen Fixova.
On Monday, August 26, the delegation was received by the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh Ashot Ghoulyan, and met the members of the “Friendship Group with Europe” of the Republic’s Parliament.
During the meetings, the significance of such visits was emphasized as a means of fighting against the social isolation imposed by Azerbaijan on the people of Artsakh. The parties highlighted the vital necessity of the future participation of the democratically elected Artsakh authorities in the negotiation process in order to obtain a peaceful and sustainable settlement.
On Monday, the delegation also visited the HALO Trust, an international demining organization in Nagorno-Karabakh. Later on, members of the delegation, Professor Oliver Maria Schmitt and Professor Torsten Gaitzsch, gave a public lecture about the reunification of Germany and the Titanic satiric German magazine, where guests and citizens of Stepanakert had the opportunity to exchange points of view.
Commenting on the visit, EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian stated: “Last year, during his first visit, MEP Martin Sonneborn promised to come back to Artsakh with a much bigger group in order to directly interact with its population, and here we are with a group of 25 German intellectuals. We are extremely happy to participate in this initiative taken by MEP Sonneborn, which will help to considerably reinforce the bridges existing between the two people and create new ones.”
Karampetian further elaborated: “This visit also comes as a clear message to the world that the Azerbaijan’s policy of isolating Artsakh people and threatening its visitors is an absolute failure. In fact, during our meeting with the political leaders today, we learned that the number of the foreign visitors to Artsakh was as high as ever in 2019. This is a great sign, but insufficient. It is now time for the international political leaders, and especially EU officials, to follow Sonneborn’s example and visit Artsakh, interact with its people, listen to them and contribute in the defense of their fundamental rights.”
During the next days, the delegation members will meet the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh Republic Masis Mayilyan and pay a visit to the Artsakh airport on a study tour. The guests will have an opportunity to enjoy some of the touristic and cultural venues of Artsakh such as Hunot Canyon, Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, and the modern Art gallery in Shushi town. They will also taste some of the prominent local products, such as the Kataro wine, during a visit to the factory in Togh village.
On August 24, before arriving to Artsakh, the German delegation paid tribute to the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan. Martin Sonneborn’s team will also be received by the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, Ararat Mirozyan.