Armenian Opposition Leader Views Council of Europe Discussions


Iravunk, Yerevan
30 Apr 04

Text of a telephone interview with Artashes Gegamyan, leader of the
Armenian opposition National Unity Party from Strasbourg in the
Armenian newspaper Iravunk on 30 April headlined “A resolution on
Armenia was adopted by PACE on 28 April”

(Yerkir correspondent) During these days the coalition member deputies
are often voicing (from the National Assembly rostrum as well) a view
that it was Armenians used to search for Tizbon (town in Iran) for a
long time, during the Soviet times it was Lenin’s mausoleum and the
Kremlin and today it is the Council of Europe.

(Artashes Gegamyan) Those who make such parallels are at least
political ignoramus. They do not understand what processes take place
in the 21st century world and in particular in Europe. I can surely
say that they are dealing with prostitution but not politics. If they
deal with politics, they would know that since 1 May the European
Union which will involve 25 member-countries, is developing a general
constitution and in all probability it will be confirmed this
year. Any country which does not even join the European Union, should
aspire to come closer to the European standards, if it wants its state
and people to have prospects and progress.

(Correspondent) How will you assess the PACE discussions on 28 April?

(Gegamyan) They were of a principal significance for Armenia, in
particular for those hundreds of thousands of our compatriots who want
the resignation of the present administration.

(Correspondent) In what sense?

(Gegamyan) In the sense that they heard the people’s voice in the PACE
session, about the events that took place in April, behind which
Robert Kocharyan stands. The events have become a subject of serious
discussion and 106 stood for its discussion. The last point of the
adopted resolution is evidence of the fact PACE allows in Armenia
significant regress from the pan-European values. It is not at all
accidental the authorities were given until September to stop the
barbarous actions and pressure against the opposition that were
mentioned in the resolution. They (Armenian authorities) were obliged
to keep human rights and freedoms, that is, organization of free
demonstrations and rallies and free movement right. They (PACE)
demanded the release of political prisoners immediately. They also
specially mentioned that the diplomatic immunity of PACE deputies
should be preserved.

(Correspondent) What did they mean?

(Gegamyan) They meant in particular a search in Shavarsh Kocharyan’s
and my flat and many hours examination by the workers of the
prosecutor’s office. (Passage omitted: He says that the Armenian
nation sticks to the European values, when it chose that way 1703
years ago and adopted Christianity on a state level and held to the
Christian values.)

This is the main symbol and main lesson.

(Correspondent) What was Russia’s position during the discussions?

(Gegamyan) The point is that Mr Zavgaev from the Russian delegation,
who is Chechen, made a speech. This is evidence of the fact that
unfortunately in Armenia Kocharyan relies on the criminal element, and
in the world sphere on famous functionaries, sirs,
Zavgaevs…(ellipsis as published)

(Correspondent) How will you comment on the fact that PACE registered
that the opposition should nevertheless start dialogue and that the
dialogue should take place in the National Assembly?

(Gegamyan) PACE will gradually see that there is the Kocharyan
administration in Armenia on the one hand and on the other there is
the Armenian nation. Naturally the Armenian nation has only one
language to talk to the occupant of power, that is a language of law.

(Correspondent) By the way, the authorities of Armenia have not
accepted the PACE report and resolution badly and are already trying
to express their satisfaction.

(Gegamyan) Naturally, one can understand them, as they know very well
what a shame took place in Armenia during the passed months, they also
know that any country that implemented only 10 per cent of their
actions would be withdrawn from the Council of Europe.

(Correspondent) But nevertheless we were not punished but given time
to correct our mistakes.

(Gegamyan) Naturally the given five months should raise inspiration in
the authorities. But we know very well what will take place in