We Have A Significant Resource In Greece For Bilateral Cooperation
By Ruzan ISHKHANIAN
artsakhtert.com – 18/3/2013
The March 12 press conference of the NKR NA Chairman Ashot Ghulian was dedicated to his March 4-7 working visit to Greece.
The Parliament Speaker informed the journalists that he had had meetings with some Parties in Athens, had participated in a conference organized by the authoritative scientific establishment - the Athens Pandio University, and was received by the Armenian community of Greece.
The meetings with political circles of Greece were mainly dedicated to the achievements of Artsakh in the state, social and economic spheres, as well as in the field of democracy and human rights.
Surely, it was interesting to know how all these processes are assessed by the EU member - Greece. The NA Chairman stressed that various parties took the information about Artsakh to the extent they were related to the local Armenian community, to the extent they were aware of the problems of the Armenian reality, and, of course, a certain role was played by their interest in the study of the Karabakh problem. But, they were all definitely interested in the Armenian-Greek relations. According to the Chairman of the National Assembly, the intergovernmental relations between Greece and Armenia, the common fate of the two nations make it possible to further develop and expand the ties between the political circles of Artsakh and Greece.
First of all, the Chairman of the NKR Parliament noted the importance of the March 4 meeting with the left-wing party DemocrÐ±tico Arister, which is a member of the coalition and has representatives at the government. It was held at the party office and was attended by its Chairman Fotis Kouvelis. On March 5, Mr. Ghulian met with leader of the right-wing party Independent Greeks Panos Kamenos and spokesman Terence Guik. The same day, a meeting with Secretary of New Democracy ruling party Manolis Gefaloyannis and Deputy Secretary Zontanos took place.
The next day, a meeting with the main left-wing opposition party Syriza took place at the Greek Parliament. The meeting was attended by one of the party leaders, Vice Speaker of the Parliament Yannis Tragasakis.
Among a series of political meetings, Mr. Ghulian stressed the importance of the March 7 meeting with the ex-chairman of the Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaglamanis, under whom, in 1996, an act on recognition of the Armenian Genocide was adopted. Today, he is one of the leaders of the socialist party PASOK and leads the Greece - Armenia friendship group.
During all the meetings, the participants touched upon the Karabakh issue and the negotiations taking place in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. "If everything goes well, we will get certain results over the next 2 or 3 months. Visits of the Greek side are planned, and corresponding measures will be taken to strengthen the further cooperation", said Ashot Ghulian.
The Parliament Speaker drew attention to the fact that Greece has currently quite a respectable membership in the European structures, and therefore it is extremely important for us that the parliamentarians representing this country are aware of the Karabakh problem and the information system of our country, as Turkey and Azerbaijan do not stop conducting a disinformation policy at the European structures.
Referring to the conference held at the Pandio Athens University of Political Sciences, Ashot Ghulian noted that all the political studies carried out in the country, which are important for scientific development, were concentrated at this scientific and educational institution that had more than 80-year history. The event was attended not only by our compatriots, but also by the officials of Greece, conflictologists, journalists and observers dealing with the problems of our region. Since the visit took place at the invitation of Panda University, it was initially agreed that the topic of the conference would be related to the Karabakh issue. The topic of the conference was "Nagorno-Karabakh: the ways of the issue's solution", and the speakers talked about the 25-year way the people of Artsakh had passed.
Mr. Ghulian found it necessary to note that the Greek speakers (Rector of the University and an expert on international law) had also included in their researches the Karabakh issue and the geopolitical processes taking place in our region and outside it. As noted, given the common history of the two nations in the early 20th century, Greece will not be able to display an impartial attitude to the problems of Armenia and Armenians.
The importance of strengthening the ties between the societies, public and political forces of the two countries was stressed. The conference participants were welcomed by Rector of the University, Professor Grigoris Tsavtas, and the event was led by our compatriot, member of Hay Dat commission in Greece Sergo Guyumchyan. Ambassador of Armenia to Greece Gagik Galajian also made a speech at the conference, presenting the sources of the Karabakh issue. This allowed Ashot Ghulyan to miss the historical aspects in his speech and to present the general conceptual position of the NKR.
A shortage of corresponding propaganda materials was felt in Greece, and in this regard, Mr. Ghulian noted the importance of showing the 15-20-minute film, which was the short version of Vahram Balayan's film Â"Artsakh at the crossroads of historyÂ". Following the speeches, the floor was given to the persons who had worked at various times in Karabakh. Their comments on the people of Artsakh were positive and encouraging. It should also be noted that the Greek press displayed considerable interest towards the visit of the NKR NA Chairman by covering it in details.
"The Armenian community of Greece differs from other Armenian Diaspora
communities by a special warmth and sincerity, love and respect to Artsakh. This is conditioned by the works conducted in the community.
The most influential of the Armenian organizations is the ARFD, which works with all its structures actively.
There is another important factor: both the authorities and Armenian organizations are equally interested in the functioning of Armenian schools in the Armenian community of Greece", emphasized the Chairman of the National Assembly. Only in Athens, there are three Armenian schools, in which the spirit of patriotism is available. Armenian schools with all the links - from pre-school to primary school - operate also outside the capital. The availability of these institutions demonstrates the viability of the Armenian community of Greece for the further 20 or 30 years.
The importance of the role of the National Spiritual Center, which is represented in Greece by the Diocese of the Great House of Cilicia, was noted.
According to Mr. Ghulian, we have a significant resource in Greece for parliamentary, official, and unofficial relationships.
The Greek community of Artsakh, which was founded here over 200 years ago, was also noted at the conference. The first Greeks came here to study the bowels and settled in the village of Mehmana, Martakert region. 72 Greeks lived there before the Artsakh War. Currently, there are 22 of them. According to the Chairman of the National Assembly, we display special interest towards the national minorities, especially the Greeks. The activity of the once operating Armenian-Greek organization should be intensified.
Then, Mr. Ghulian answered the journalists' questions.
How does the NKR NA Speaker evaluate the Greek lobbying and are the opportunities at the European structures fully used at the discussions related to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict? Answering the question of the Azat Artsakh, Ashot Ghulian noted that the parliamentarians, representing Greece at the PACE, correctly perceived the danger of the documents presented by our opponents. We have no problems in this regard. Our everyday activity at international structures is needed, as both the Parliament membership and the requirements to be met by the parliamentarians are constantly changing. Azerbaijan is working at European institutions very actively, which should be kept in mind: our goal is to provide the parliamentarians of Greece with timely and true information. It is also important to intensify our contacts with various parties. During the meetings with the right- and left-wing parties, representing members
of the coalition government, it was noted that the diversity of the political field of Greece allowed to have partner-parties at the Parliament of Artsakh, the ideas and views of which they shared.