MP Nora Arissian to ST: Syrian-Armenian Parliamentary Cooperation ‘Essential’ to Convey Syria’s Viewpoint at International Meetings

This year, the Syrian-Armenian Parliamentary relations have witnessed remarkable development to upgrade bilateral ties based on mutual cooperation between the two countries and to explain the reality of events in Syria at international meetings.

The development manifested in the foundation of two Syrian-Armenian parliamentary friendship associations at the Syrian People’s Assembly and in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia besides the support of the Armenian MPs to Syria at international parliamentary meetings, according to the Syrian Member of Parliament Dr. Nora Arissian.

“The first Syrian-Armenian parliamentary friendship association was founded in March 2017 in the Syrian parliament, while the second association was founded in the Armenian parliament in July 2017,” the MP told the Syriatimes newspaper in an e-mail interview.

 She pointed out that the MPs of the two countries exchanged congratulations and stressed their determination to upgrade bilateral ties between Syria and Armenia.

“Over the past two decades, the relations between the Syrian People’s Assembly and the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia were based on cooperation and mutual visits in accordance with an agreement signed between them in December 1993,” Dr. Arissian added, asserting that the two countries are keen to cement parliamentary relations.

In 2010, Speaker of the Armenian parliament visited Syria where a memorandum of understanding between the Syrian and Armenian parliaments was signed in order to develop relations between the MPs of the two countries and to coordinate their stances towards international causes through continuous consultation.

The Armenian MPs do not miss any opportunity to support Syria in its war against terrorism. They have been active inside the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and in the international meetings.

Destruction of the Armenian Church by terrorists

“In 2014, Armenian parliamentary delegation visited Syria and they were briefed on the details of the ongoing war on Syria and the possibility of helping the country to alleviate its suffering resulted from sanctions and war. The delegation presented a report to the Armenian parliament and asserted the need to develop parliamentary relations. They also focused on the role of Armenian Syrians in Syria's development and on their steadfastness in the country despite the difficult circumstances,” said the MP.

She indicated that Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament and Spokesman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia Eduard Sharmazanov strongly denounced the destruction of the Armenian Church in Deir Ezzour province by terrorists.

“Sharmazanov affirmed that this terror crime aims to eliminate ‘Christian and Armenian spiritual values’ and it is a sequel to the destruction of tens of thousands of Armenian monuments in Turkish territories. He criticized the international failure to condemn such arbitrary practices that aim to destroy Armenian cultural heritage.”

20.000 Armenian Syrians left Syria because of terror war

Over 20.000 Armenian Syrians had been forced to leave their homes because of terror crimes in Syria and they went to Armenia where they receive support in all fields, according to the head of the Armenian parliamentary delegation Hermini Nagdalyan in the meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) held in on January, 26th, 2017.

Nagdalyan has played an active role in the PACE’s meetings through putting an item about Syria in the agenda of the meetings, Dr. Arissian stressed, pointing out that Armenia voiced concern over the situation in Syria and welcomed ceasefire initiatives.

The MP quoted Nagdalyan as saying: “Armenian people are grateful to Syria which hosted Armenians after Ottoman genocide against them 100 years ago... The world has become poor after the war on Syria and after the barbaric destruction of cultural heritage there. It is our duty to exert every possible effort to prevent the destruction of cultural monuments.”

In 2018, the Republic of Armenia will host Francophone countries’ conference and it will elaborate to the parliaments of the participating countries the reality of events in Syria plus the issue of sanctions being imposed on the country.

“It is necessary to reactivate cooperation with the Armenian parliament in order to convey the view point of Syria through Armenian Syrian MPs as Armenia is a member of several international Parliamentary organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, PACE, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe,” Dr. Arissian added, citing that there is a committee for parliamentary cooperation between Armenia and the European Union.

Armenia’s role in reconstruction process in Syria

Moreover, the MP underlined that Armenia will take part in the reconstruction process in Syria in the fields of electrical grid and infrastructures as it has experts in these fields. “Two weeks ago, Armenian economic delegation led by Minister of Investments and Economic Development visited Syria to have an idea about available investment opportunities and he suggested getting several facilities to re-promote Armenian products in Syrian market and vis versa.”

Dr. Arissian indicated that the number of Armenians in Syria has dropped by about a third because of the terror war on the country, but many families want to return to Syria after the liberation of several cities.

“Charity, cultural and social associations go ahead with their works and the Armenian churches and schools have not closed during the ongoing war started in 2011,” the MP concluded. 

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour