Oskanian Says Council Of Europe Sanctions Unlikely

Oskanian Says Council Of Europe Sanctions Unlikely
By Gevorg Stamboltsian 04/06/2004 00:38

Radio Free Europe, Czech Rep.
June 4 2004

Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Thursday that the Council
of Europe is unlikely to impose embarrassing political sanctions on
Armenia despite its strong criticism of his government’s crackdown
on the opposition.

In a resolution adopted on April 28, the pan-European organization’s
Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) threatened not to recognize the
credentials of four Armenian members in September unless the
authorities stop arresting opposition supporters and release all
political prisoners. “I can dare say that there is no danger of
that. I don’t think that our deputies will be stripped of their
voting rights,” Oskanian said during a meeting with students at
Yerevan State University. “I think that everything will be alright
and we will continue our normal work there.”

“But in any case, a lot will depend on what kind of developments
will take place by September. If, God forbid, such a thing happens
it will definitely have a negative impact on our foreign policy and
reputation in general,” he added.

The PACE resolution says that the Armenian authorities have until
late June to “inform the Assembly of their findings and possible
legal actions against people responsible” for human rights abuses
reported during the crackdown. They were also told to lift “unjustified
restrictions” on peaceful anti-government demonstrations and release
all individuals arrested in connection with them.

Two PACE rapporteurs are due to visit Armenia later this month ahead of
the 45-nation assembly’s next session in Strasbourg to assess progress
in the implementation of its recommendations. The authorities say they
have already taken meaningful steps to comply with the resolution. The
Armenian opposition denies the claims, pointing to the continuing
“administrative detentions” and imprisonment on criminal charges of
its activists.

The opposition has sought to portray the Council of Europe criticism as
a major success in its campaign to oust President Robert Kocharian. The
government, for its part, counters that the resolution did not endorse
the opposition calls for a referendum of confidence in Kocharian and
said that serious irregularities did not affect the official outcome
of last year’s presidential election.

The opposition efforts to provoke international pressure on Yerevan
was denounced by Kocharian this week as something “close to treason” of
Armenian national interests. Oskanian echoed the charges on Thursday,
saying that the continuing anti-Kocharian rallies hurt the country’s
international standing.

“When I’m in Strasbourg, Brussels, New York, London or Paris and
several thousand people gather in Freedom Square on the same day to
call for regime change, believe me that our foreign policy becomes
very inefficient,” he said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS