Armenia Doesn’t Exploit Differences Between Superpowers But Works Wi


10.04.2007 15:05 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ "It is hard to talk about democratic and human
rights when you need to solve the social and economic needs of
the population," Armenian Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan said in an
interview with the Financial Times during a trip to Brussels. "We
would not like to be a state stuck in our transition," he said.

He said the huge Armenian Diaspora – estimated at up to three times
the native population – should get more involved in the country. Only
1 per cent of investment came from them, he said, and he was looking
at ways they could be encouraged.

However, Mr Sargysan said the government in Yerevan would keep pledges
made to international bodies after criticism of its rights record and
he was hopeful that the May 12 parliamentary elections would be the
first to be pronounced free and fair by the Organization for Security
and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the European security watchdog.

"We have made commitments to different programs and we think compliance
is in our interest. We want to become part of the European family."

He said his top priority was to conclude a peace treaty with its
Muslim neighbor, Azerbaijan.

The neighbor state has been rearming recently but Mr Sargysan said
that was sabre-rattling. Turkey closed its border with Armenia during
the war and the premier said he would strive to restore relations
and sign a peace deal. Armenia could grow far faster if rapprochement
was reached with its bigger neighbors, he said.

Mr Sargysan said that, despite ties to influential exiles in the US,
Yerevan would remain friendly to Moscow and would not support a US
base in the volatile Caucasus. In a swipe at neighboring Georgia,
whose "rose revolution" against Russian domination has endeared it
to the west, he said he did not see it as a model to emulate.

"One can either exploit their differences between superpowers or work
with them. We prefer to work with them. There are many conflicts in
our region."

Mr Sargysan said Armenia would one day like to join the European Union
but had no desire to join the NATO defense alliance, although it was
working closely with it.

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