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Belgian Senate Hosts Roundtable on South Caucasus Geopolitical Developments: Focus on Armenia and Artsakh


Belgian Senate Hosts Roundtable on South Caucasus Geopolitical Developments: Focus on Armenia and Artsakh

A gathering took place at the Belgian Senate as esteemed leaders convened for a roundtable discussion titled "The Geopolitical Developments in the South Caucasus: Focus on Armenia and Artsakh." This important event, spearheaded by Senator Mark Demesmaeker in collaboration with the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD), drew a diverse audience comprising Belgian parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists, and civil society representatives.


The roundtable boasted a lineup of distinguished keynote speakers:

- Els Van Hoof: Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Belgian Federal Parliament

- Paul Meerts: International negotiation analyst and co-founder of Clingendael Institute

- Gegham Stepanyan: Ombudsman of Nagorno Karabakh

- Benyamin Poghosyan: Senior Research Fellow at the Applied Policy Research Institute of Armenia


Belgian Senate Hosts Roundtable on South Caucasus Geopolitical Developments: Focus on Armenia and Artsakh

The central aim of the conference was to conduct a thorough analysis of geopolitical shifts in the South Caucasus region since September 2020, particularly in the aftermath of the Nagorno Karabakh occupation. Speakers offered insights from various vantage points, encompassing international law, human rights, and the global community's response. Special attention was devoted to mediation endeavors, with a spotlight on the European Union's role. Furthermore, panelists deliberated on future prospects, exit strategies, and tangible measures to safeguard the inherent rights of Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh Armenians.


Belgian Senate Hosts Roundtable on South Caucasus Geopolitical Developments: Focus on Armenia and Artsakh

The event commenced with opening remarks by Senator Demesmaeker, Mr. Vardan Sargsyan (Deputy Head of Mission of Armenia to the EU), and Kaspar Karampetian (President of the EAFJD). Senator Demesmaeker underscored the urgency of addressing the evolving situation, drawing from his firsthand observations in Nagorno-Karabakh and border regions with Azerbaijan. He emphasized the imperative for democracies to unite in safeguarding human rights and averting atrocities, stressing the importance of not overlooking the South Caucasus amidst other global concerns.


Els Van Hoof voiced concern over Azerbaijan's ongoing cultural cleansing, citing the recent demolition of Artsakh's parliament. She advocated for a reevaluation of the EU's relations with Azerbaijan and proposed the consideration of sanctions on a European level to curb violations against Karabakh Armenians.


Paul Meerts delved into negotiation dynamics, highlighting the necessity for Armenia to bolster its position at the negotiating table for regional stability. Gegham Stepanyan shed light on the challenges faced by Nagorno Karabakh residents, both during and after the conflict, highlighting the urgent need for international mobilization in addressing humanitarian needs.


Benyamin Poghosyan critiqued past policies of appeasement towards Azerbaijan, cautioning against its detrimental effects and the looming threat of further aggression. Karampetian expressed gratitude to all participants for their commitment to Armenian rights in Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh.


The roundtable culminated in a dynamic Q&A session, wherein speakers and policymakers deliberated on prospective measures to foster peace in the South Caucasus and uphold the fundamental rights of Artsakh Armenians. This gathering served as a vital platform for dialogue and concerted action towards peace, justice, and stability in the region.

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