PACE resolution on Armenia can be applied to any COE member…

May 6 2004


YEREVAN, MAY 6, ARMENPRESS: A senior member of the governing
Republican party has called on the opposition today to give up its
“destructive” policy and sit around a table with the authorities to
seek ways out of the political crisis.
“The Republican party (the senior member in the ruling coalition)
will not allow any action that would jeopardize Armenia’s
independence,” Galust Sahakian, the head of Republican parliamentary
faction told reporters. He was participating in public debates
organized by the National Civic Initiative on the reasons behind the
standoff between the authorities and the opposition.
Sahakian said that the opposition must stop all its
anti-government actions and engage in dialogue with the authorities
to seek for a formula that would enable to improve the election code
and amend the Constitution.
He also reverted to April 13 crackdown of the law-enforcement
bodies on the opposition rally, accusing the opposition leaders of
making people “the target of the law.” “All existing problems are
solved either by the authorities or within the political field in a
civilized manner,” he noted.
In a reference to the PACE resolution on Armenia that denounced
the government crackdown on the opposition, demanding an end to the
mass `administrative detentions’ of participants of protests marches
and the immediate release of those of them who remain in custody,
Sahakian argued that the resolution, which he claimed “was based on
theoretical information, not backed up by a thorough investigation”
could be applied to any Council of Europe member.
He then downplayed opposition’s allegations that its arrested
activists are political prisons. “A man arrested for attacking a
policeman cannot be called political prisoner,” he said.
Also a recurrent call for dialogue was made on Wednesday by
parliament speaker Arthur Baghdasarian, who invited in a statement
all parliamentary factions to attend `political consultations’ today,
which he said is also necessitated by the Council of Europe’s calls
for a `dialogue without preconditions’ between the authorities and
the opposition.