(The Globe and Mail ). Canadian MPs Tony Clement and Rachael Harder have been banned from Azerbaijan for visiting Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh).
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry has accused the MPs of falling for the “propaganda of the Armenian side”.
The Conservative MPs are visiting the region on a trip organized by One Free World International. They are accompanied by Armenian National Committee of Canada executive director Sevag Belian, who helped set up meetings with top government officials.
Azerbaijan has lodged a protest to the Canadian government about the MPs’ trip and placed them on its list of undesirable persons.
In a telephone interview from Armenia’s capital of Yerevan on Friday, September 1, Clement said he was taking part in a documentary that is being produced by One Free World.
“I am not here endorsing anyone. I want both sides to have a negotiated settlement of the situation but I am here on a fact-finding and humanitarian mission along with Rachel Harder,” Clement said.
However, he conceded that he accepts Armenia’s claims that Azerbaijani forces have committed atrocities, citing beheadings and cutting off of the ears of Armenian soldiers.
“What I saw with my own eyes is very disturbing in terms of the atrocities that were committed by Azerbaijani forces. In terms of the political situation I am sure I echo Global Affairs Canada when I say it is better to have a negotiated solution than a continuing war,” Clement said.
Azerbaijan recently blacklisted Portuguese MP Rubina Berardo, also for visiting Karabakh.