Australian foreign affairs department recognizes Artsakh as party to conflict

Australian foreign affairs department recognizes Artsakh as party to conflict

PanARMENIAN.Net - Under parliamentary questioning by Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee ChairEric Abetz, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has promised to investigate Azerbaijani bribe money that has reportedly landed in Australia.

During the Senate Estimates questioning, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also admitted that Artsakh (Nagorno karabakh) – which Australia does not yet formally recognize as an independent state – is a “party” to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

Abetz, who is a former cabinet minister and part of the Australian Friends of Artsakh network, questioned First Assistant Secretary of the Europe and Latin Affairs Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Catherine Raper on these issues of importance to Armenian-Australians.

Abetz drew Raper’s attention to reporting by the OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project) that indicated over US$200,000 of Azerbaijani Laundromat was linked to Australian companies.

The Azerbaijani Laundromat refers to an international money laundering and bribery scheme that saw US$2.9 billion funnelled into the pockets of European politicians, journalists and organisation officials in exchange for silence on Baku’s human rights abuses between 2012 and 2014.

Despite indicating during the last Senate Estimates period that her Department would investigate the report’s findings, Raper told Abetz that they were “not aware” of the report or the suggestion that money had found its way into Australia.

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