ArmInfo. Within the framework of the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) the RA NA President Alen Simonyan had a meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) Maria Pejcinovic Buric.
Thanking the CoE Secretary General for the meeting, the RA NA President noted that this year turned 20 years of Armenia's membership to the Council of Europe, highlighting the cooperation with the Council of Europe and the support of the organization to the process of democratic reforms going on in our country.
He highly assessed the role of the CoE and PACE monitoring structures in strengthening democracy in Armenia and the work done within the framework of the initiated reforms. Alen Simonyan touched upon the observation of the snap parliamentary elections held in Armenia in June 2021 and the given high evaluation.
The sides referred to the large scale war unleashed against Artsakh by Azerbaijan and the post-war situation. Alen Simonyan has stressed that Azerbaijan continues holding Armenian prisoners of war and the civilians in hostage, and initiating false criminal proceedings. The Speaker of the legislative body underlined the necessity of keeping this problem in the centre of attention by PACE.
Issues regarding human rights and democracy were discussed.
At a meeting with Margareta Cederfelt Alen Simonyan highly appreciated the role of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in the development of inter-parliamentary dialogue. The President of the National Assembly of Armenia stressed the important role of parliamentary diplomacy in the currently environment of international relations. In the context of security and lasting regional peace, the parties raised issues related to the deliberate shelling of the Armenian civilian population and civilian infrastructure during the hostilities unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh, the immediate repatriation of prisoners of war and captured civilians held by Azerbaijan.
Cederfelt praised the early parliamentary elections in Armenia in June 2021, adding that a full report on them will be ready soon. She stressed the importance of democracy in all electoral and post-electoral processes.
At the meeting with Pascale Gruny Simonyan noted that meetings with French colleagues are always distinguished by a warm and friendly environment. The sincere friendship between the two countries and peoples is also evidenced by the support provided by France and its people to Armenia and the Armenian people last year - in countering the coronavirus pandemic and during the war. In this context, they also mentioned the adoption by both chambers of the French parliament of resolutions condemning the Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression, as well as calling for the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
The head of the RA legislative body stressed that Armenia has always highly appreciated the weighty role of France as the co-chairing country of the OSCE Minsk Group - the only internationally recognized format for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The parties touched upon inter-parliamentary relations, noting their special role in the development and enrichment of the political dialogue between Armenia and France.
The Vice-President of the French Senate conveyed to A. Simonyan the invitation of the President of the Senate to visit the French Republic. She also presented the proposal of the Chairperson of the Senate to sign in the near future a Memorandum on cooperation with the RA National Assembly. The conversation also touched upon the effective Armenian-French parliamentary cooperation at multilateral platforms.