Armenia could be kicked out of the PACE

Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press
June 23, 2004


Confrontation Between Opposition and Government Is Becoming

By Viktoria Panfilova. Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 28, 2004, p. 5.
Condensed text:

In Yerevan, the coalition of three parties — the Republican Party of
Armenia, Orinats Yerkir [Country of Law] and Dashnaktsutyun [the
Armenian Revolutionary Federation] — that control a majority of the
seats in the Armenian parliament has invited the opposition (the
Justice bloc and the National Unity Party) to resume talks. It may be
recalled that the first round of talks between the parties making up
the pro-Kocharyan coalition and the united opposition was
unsuccessful. . . . A statement issued by the coalition says, in
part: “Unfortunately, the opposition forces did not take a
constructive path that would offer a real possibility of jointly
resolving the tense political situation that has come about in our
country. In choosing to hold rallies instead of pursue dialogue, they
have refused to heed the Council of Europe’s call to solve the
problem by political means and without preconditions.”

For his part, Viktor Dalakyan, secretary of the opposition Justice
faction, said that the opposition is willing to reopen dialogue with
the government only if arrested opposition activists are released. He
also urged Armenians to attend a demonstration that the opposition
plans to hold in downtown Yerevan on June 4.

It may be recalled that, late last week, the opposition resumed its
protest demonstrations in the central part of the capital city to
demand the release of the arrested opposition members. . . . There
was also a crackdown on members of the Communist Party, the
Republican Party and the National Unity Party. At the same time, all
roads leading into Yerevan were closed again, and drivers on
intercity routes were told not to report to work. The authorities put
police throughout Armenia on alert.

Meanwhile, the US State Department recently published its latest
report on human rights, and the document is highly critical of the
Armenian authorities. President Robert Kocharyan has so far declined
to comment on the report, but he did give an extensive interview on
the results of his visit to Moscow, in which he said that he had the
full and unconditional support of the Kremlin. Moreover, Armenian
officials cite with great satisfaction a recent report issued by the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the political
situation in Armenia. It says that although the presidential election
was marred by many instances of fraud, they “did not have any
significant impact” on the outcome of the voting. The report thus
refutes opposition statements questioning the head of state’s

True, everywhere else the lengthy document has extremely
unflattering things to say about the Armenian authorities, citing
regular and widespread violations of civil rights and freedoms. The
report says that the Armenian delegation’s credentials “may be
reconsidered” at the PACE’s upcoming September session.

It’s clear that, under these circumstances, the opposition is going
to step up the confrontation: It has now been announced that sit-ins
will be held in addition to the rallies in Yerevan. . . .