"PACE Is Not Armenia’s Nurse"


January 27, 2010

A1+ had an interview with Tigran Torosyan, ex chairman of the Armenian
delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE) and ex speaker of Armenian Parliament.

-How will you assess Armenian delegation’s recent "adventures" in
the Parliamentary Assembly?

First of all I want to remind that last time the Assembly raised
the issue of suspending the mandates of Armenian delegation. After
the passions died away, Armenian authorities announced about their
victory in Strasbourg. I find this approach futile as our delegation
faces the same problem in PACE today. This must come as an alert
for Armenian authorities and opposition who had better settle their
affairs in Yerevan and find mutually beneficial solutions. I think
that the authorities created extra problems for them by changing the
staff of the delegation. It means the authorities cannot imagine the
delegation’s powers in Strasbourg. The delegation is divided into two
parts – permanent and substitutes. Substitutes are empowered to work
in commissions which carry out the main work.

The authorities needn’t have sent four delegates instead of eight. The
decision was absurd. The number of commissions exceeded our delegation
and the delegation was to have arrived in Strasbourg in full staff.

But PACE confirmed our delegates’ mandates and accusations were hailed
afterwards blaming PACE for double standards.

The reason is that many people both in the ruling coalition and
opposition try to conceal their faults by impartial assessments. All
issues must be thoroughly introduced and grounded in PACE. I learnt
from the press that the opposition delegate was unable to participate
in the PACE sitting for some unknown reasons. This is not a grounded
explanation. Most of our delegates do not have a thorough notion of
PACE and are unaware of its main functions.

Everyone thinks PACE is Armenia’s nurse and must handle Armenia’s
problems, clarify the reality and make proposals. But in fact, you
must deal with your problems and all further decisions shall be taken
on the basis of facts and grounds presented by you.

Since 2008 Armenia has appeared in awkward situations in PACE. Why?

The reason is that few understand the role of PACE in Armenia. I must
say that some of our delegates cannot work there at all. They think
they travel to Strasbourg to make a speech. But it has nothing to
do with PACE. Finally, they don’t treat the structure seriously. We
think that PACE is a formal structure and so are our commitments to it.

Our delegation must be able to depict the general situation in Armenia
in real colors, at the same time, as a PACE member the delegation
must acknowledge Armenian leadership with the real problems in the
country and try its best to settle them.

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