The 130th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly will take place in Geneva from 16 to 20 March 2014 with the participation of delegations from the majority of the IPU's 163 member parliaments. The UK delegation will be led by the BGIPU Chair, Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP. UK Delegates will play active role in IPU Committees, panel discussions and side-events focused on inter-parliamentary contributions to international peace and security, human rights and development issues. The Assembly will also mark the 125th anniversary of the establishment of the IPU.
The Delegation to Armenia had the opportunity to meet with prominent figures in the Armenian government and parliament during the programme. Discussions were dominated by the Armenian decision to seek membership of the Eurasian Customs Union and what the ramifications of this might be for the relationship with the EU, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the approaching centenary commemorations of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian economy is sufficiently prosperous for there to be no need for traditional international bilateral aid from the UK. After the 1988 earthquake, the UK sent support and the Embassy and UK volunteers have made a real difference at the Lord Byron school at Gyumri, opened in 1990 by Margaret Thatcher during her first visit to the then Soviet Union.