BAKU—The NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 86th Rose-Roth Seminar was held on Monday in Baku, with the attendance of an Armenian delegation, who was guaranteed safety by NATO organizers.
The seminar, titled “South Caucasus: Challenges and Opportunities” will continue through Tuesday in Baku.
During the opening ceremony of the seminar, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Hugh Bailey said NATO will continue its efforts in helping the sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict reach an agreement, stressing that the conflict cannot be resolved militarily.
The UN Security Council’s four resolutions on Armenian withdrawal have not been enforced to this day.
“Azerbaijan is located in a complex region,” Bailey said. “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can only be resolved by means of compromise. In turn, NATO will continue its efforts to ensure that parties of the conflict will come to an agreement.”
He also expressed satisfaction that the seminar is attended by representatives of Armenia.
Azeri groups rallied in protest against the Armenian delegation in Baku at the onset of the meeting.
During the meeting, a dispute broke out between the Armenian and Azerbaijani delegates when Armenian legislator Koryun Nahapetian stressed that the Artsakh Republic should be part of all discussions taking place concerning its independence, Public Radio of Armenia reported.
The spat was followed by Azeri lawmaker Siyavush Novruzov suggesting that the international community should recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity as it has Ukraine’s.
Controversy continued, however, when Azerbaijani human rights advocates conducted a demonstration. The dissenters — led by well-known and well-persecuted Azerbaijani activist Leyla Yunus – garnered attention by handing out pamphlets to the visiting foreign delegates and unfurling a banner that read “Freedom for Prisoners of Conscience.”
“What European integration and stability are you speaking about, when there are 130 victims of political violence in the country?” Yunus told reporters, adding that in Azerbaijan there are 40 prisoners of conscience, 90 political prisoners, 11 incarcerated journalists, and 4 human rights defenders serving time in prison for their activism.
Speaking at the seminar, Azerbaijani Parliament Speaker Ogtay Asadov expressed hope that this seminar will have an impact on the situation in the South Caucasus.
Referring to the “close cooperation” between Azerbaijan and NATO, Asadov said that the country intends to continue its cooperation with the organization.
He also noted “close ties” between Azerbaijan and Europe on the issue of energy security.