A delegation led by the President of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Bako Sahakyan was received at the Flemish Parliament, on the initiative of the members of the Friendship Group between Dutch-speaking Belgian Parliamentarians and Artsakh Republic as well as the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD).
Eight members of the Flemish parliament, including Belgian senators took part in the meeting. The head of ARF Dashnaktsoutioun Bureau Hagop Der Khatchadourian, the EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian and EAFJD executive director Heghine Evinyan were also present.
Among other topics the potential of decentralized cooperation between Artsakh and Flanders, particularly in the fields of agriculture, education and culture was discussed. The President of the Artsakh Republic elaborated on the international ties the republic has established in the past years as well as on the state of security in the country.
One of the focal points of the discussion was the total geopolitical isolation of Artsakh imposed by the Azerbaijani authorities, in particular the impossibility to use the fully operational and modern airport of Stepanakert – the capital of the Republic of Artsakh. Despite the fact that the authorities of Artsakh have declared that they intend to use the airport for civilian purposes only, the Azerbaijani government threatens to shoot down any airplane that takes off from or intends to land in Stepanakert.
Commenting on the meeting the EAFJD President Kaspar Karampetian stated: “I would like to thank the Flemish parliamentarians for their initiative to host the President of Artsakh Republic in the Parliament, and especially senator Karl Vanlouwe who coordinated this meeting. The cross-party nature of this friendship group demonstrates the increased interest that different political parties have developed toward the situation in Artsakh.”