On April 19, the 9th Ordinary Session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly was held. The members of the NA Delegation Sargis Khandanyan and Narek Mkrtchyan took part at the Meeting of Euronest PA Committee on Social Affairs, Employment, Education, Culture and Civil Society.
Issues on the coronavirus impact and ways of overcoming in the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries were discussed.
Sargis Khandanyan particularly noted in his speech:
“ Dear colleagues,
COVID-19 pandemic has made a huge impact on Armenia’s economy and social welfare. The outbreak of coronavirus posed serious challenges for the healthcare system in Armenia forcing to rethink the operations of healthcare infrastructure and resource management. A short lockdown in last spring had significant consequences on the country's economy and businesses.
Unfortunately, the pandemic was not the only challenge for Armenia in 2020. In March 2020, UN Secretary-General António Guterres made an urgent appeal for a global ceasefire in all corners of the world to focus on defeating COVID-19. Armenia welcomed this appeal as did the rest of the civilized world since we believe that only with the joint efforts we can overcome humanitarian crises.
However, on September 27 Azerbaijan with the direct involvement of Turkey and the latter’s affiliated foreign terrorist fighters launched a large-scale military aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh causing numerous irreversible human and material losses. Considerable part of Artsakh’s territory fell under the Azerbaijani military occupation, tens of thousands of citizens became refugees.
Among other humanitarian challenges and destruction the war against the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh has massively influenced the pandemic situation in the region. The virus of COVID-19 broke out not only in the frontline among servicemen but it was also rapidly spread among civilians.
The healthcare system of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh were overwhelmed not only by the large number of wounded servicemen and civilians as well as numerous patients with COVID-19 but also because Azerbaijani forces were targeting healthcare infrastructure causing destruction of hospitals. The cruelty of these war-crimes committed by Azerbaijan reached their top when a maternity hospital was heavily shelled in Stepanakert on October 28.
The war that lasted 44 days was not the only military aggression committed by Azerbaijan in 2020. In July, 2020 Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire regime in the northeast direction of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. During this escalation Azerbaijani armed forces deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure and population including the shelling of a medical mask factory that was producing 300,000 face masks daily.
I believe that this Co mmittee and Euronest Parliamentary Assembly in general should thoroughly examine and address the above-mentioned facts and strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s aggression and destructive role in the region. I hope that our colleagues from the European Parliament will become more actively involved in the process of peace building and stability in the Eastern Partnership region. ”