Pro-Government forces comment on PACE resolution

April 29 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 29, ARMENPRESS: Members of the ruling coalition
responded today to a Wednesday PACE resolution, drawn up by a
committee monitoring Armenia’s compliance with its membership
commitments, which called on the Armenian government and the
opposition to resolve their bitter dispute through negotiation and
offered to mediate in such a dialogue.
Galust Sahakian, the head of the Republican party parliamentary
faction, lashed out at opposition members in the Armenian delegation
to PACE, arguing that they should not have pressed for a tougher
resolution, which was “playing into the hands of Armenia’s enemies.”
He also suggested refraining from making final conclusions and wait
until Armenian delegates came back home.
Sahakian, however, accused the opposition of being reluctant to
engage in dialogue and said that the ruling coalition has in store a
reserve option, which he said is to engage in dialogue with people.
He then labeled the opposition’s actions as illegal, running counter
to parliament’s regulations. “The opposition must not capitalize on
the heavy social conditions of people and dictate its orders to it.
The dialogue with authorities is now the sole way for it to save its
face,” he argued.
Hrayr Karapetian from the ARF said the resolution should not be
interpreted one-sidedly, singling out an extract which says that the
Armenian opposition `should refrain from attempts to use street
demonstrations to reverse the results of last year’s elections, which
have been, in spite of the irregularities, validated by relevant
national and international bodies.’ Karapetian too reiterated that
the dialogue remains the best way of resolving the confrontation.
Mher Shahgeldian from Orinats Yerkir said Armenia is on the track
of fully honoring its Council of Europe obligations. Gurgen Arsenian
from United Labor party said the resolution does not pose threats to
Armenia in terms of possible sanctions.
The PACE final resolution, adopted April 28 says that “The recent
events in Armenia resulted in a worsening of the situation with
regard to key concerns expressed by the Assembly in its January
report, and notably with regard to the continuation of administrative
detention and conditions of detention, human rights violations by
members of police and security forces, freedom of assembly, and
freedom of media. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. The
rapporteurs expect an immediate and significant change in the conduct
and legislative practice concerning the respect of Armenia’s
obligations and commitments. Failure to do so before the Assembly’s
June session could lead to sanctions.