March 22, 2018 - 10:17 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) facilitated meetings between the visiting State Minister of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), Arayik Harutyunyan and Australian Federal Senators, as well as Members of the Parliament of the country's largest state of New South Wales (NSW).
Harutyunyan and Artsakh's Representative to Australia, Kaylar Michaelian joined an ANC-AU delegation in Australia's capital Canberra, on Wednesday, 21st March 2018.
In his meeting with Senator Janet Rice, Harutyunyan extended his government's and people's official gratitude to her party, The Australian Greens, which became the first Australian political party to recognise the right to self-determination of the Republic of Artsakh in December 2017, through their NSW branch.
His meetings included one with Senator Kristina Keneally, who went on record during the 2017 Bennelong By-Election in support of Artsakh, Harutyunyan expressed his nation's thanks.
The delegation also attended Senate Question Time, which was a unique experience in Westminster democracy for Harutyunyan.
"Australia is a wonderful country and its democracy is one we will certainly learn from," he said. "I valued this opportunity to experience Australia's Parliament and political processes first-hand, and I am encouraged by the Armenian National Committee of Australia's work on the ground in informing the country's political leaders on the development of a democracy built on human rights and self-determination in Artsakh."
On 15th March, ANC-AU led a similar delegation including Harutyunyan and Michaelian to the NSW Parliament, where a meeting was held with members of the NSW Armenia-Australia Friendship Group.
Harutyunyan also visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial Khatchkar within the Peace Garden of Parliament House, and paid his respects to the 1.5 million victims of the first genocide of the 20th century, which was recognised by the NSW Parliament in 1997, and reaffirmed in 2013.