Canada: Historic Vote in House of Commons Recognizes Arm. Genocide

Office of Sarkis Assadourian M.P.
120 Confederation
House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada
Contact: Daniel Kennedy
Tel: 613 995 4843

Breaking News.

Canadian Parliament passes historic recognition of the Armenian
Genocide by a massive margin of 153 to 68.

Motion M-380 seconded by Sarkis Assadourian, M.P. Brampton Centre won
the resounding approval of the House of Commons. The successful
motion called on the House of Commons to acknowledge the Armenian
Genocide of 1915 and condemn this act as crime against humanity.

CBC: Canadian Parliament recognizes Armenian genocide

CBC News

Canadian Parliament recognizes Armenian genocide
Last Updated Wed, 21 Apr 2004 22:39:42

OTTAWA – The House of Commons has reversed a long-standing policy and
passed a resolution denouncing the Turks for committing genocide
against Armenians in 1915.

The vote passed easily, 153-68.

The motion said: “That this House acknowledges the Armenian genocide
of 1915 and condemns this act as a crime against humanity.”

Armenian Canadians hold a vigil after the vote

For decades consecutive Canadian governments have dodged the sensitive
issue by calling what happened in eastern Turkey a “tragedy,” stopping
well short of referring to the events as “genocide.”

In 1915, during the First World War, Turkish troops put down an
Armenian uprising. Armenians say about 1.5 million people were killed
by the Ottoman Turks, during a brutal eight year campaign.

Turkey has always fought attempts by Armenians and international human
rights organizations to have the events declared a
genocide. Previously, Ankara has warned countries contemplating
similar action that there would be negative consequences. In some
cases business contracts have been held up or denied.

In 2001 France backed the Armenian case. Ankara responded by freezing
official visits to France and temporarily blocking French companies
from competing for defence contracts.

The U.S. dropped a similar resolution a year earlier after the White
House warned it could hurt U.S. security interests.

Before Wednesday’s vote in Parliament, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill
Graham issued a statement saying “Canada has had friendly and
co-operative relations with Turkey and Armenia for many years. The
Canadian government is committed to make these relationships even
stronger in the future.”

The Turkish Embassy in Ottawa says it is drafting a response.

Written by CBC News Online bstaff

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Armenian Gays get Organised

Institute for War and Peace
Armenian Gays get Organised

A self-help group is a tentative step towards getting society to recognize

By Zhanna Alexanian in Yerevan (CRS No. 228, 21-Apr-04)

Eight gay men and a transsexual met in a Yerevan café recently to discuss
plans to form what will be Armenia’s first gay and lesbian rights
organisation and start to lift the taboo on homosexuality in the country.

None of them were from the capital. Although invited, Yerevan homosexuals
declined to attend the first meeting. Those who did show up were from four
other Armenian cities: Gyumri, Idjevan, Goris, and Echmiadzin.

The gathering was prompted by an announcement posted on the website of the
Association of Gay and Lesbian Armenians of France, calling on the gay
community in the home country to get together and discuss how to best
protect their rights.

“We formed a group we called the Self-Help Group, Grigor Simonian, a
23-year-old gay man from Gyumri, told IWPR. “We must come out and openly
admit we’re gay. How can we complain, or assert our lifestyle, unless we
publicly admit we’re gay?”

But the majority of Armenian gays and lesbians think it is too early to
institutionalise themselves, as neither the wider community, nor they
themselves, are ready. They say the first goal is to foster awareness and
tolerance in society at large. “They must accept us for what we are,
acolytes of same-sex love,” said Grigor. “We must embrace our true
identities. It’s our life, and no one has the right to interfere.”

Armenian gays and lesbians find each other on the internet, but many are
then too afraid to meet in person. For many, furtive emails are their first
attempts to come out of the closet.

“I was brave enough to take charge of organisational matters,” Grigor said.
“I feel no need to hide the fact I’m gay, but no need to flaunt it either.”

Grigor said the main reason he initiated the self-help group was his
determination to overcome his own fear and shame. But even he has not told
his parents that he is homosexual. After graduating from the sociology
department at Yerevan State University, Grigor lives and works in Gyumri,
where he has been living in a rented apartment, separately from his parents,
for the last five years.

When his parents inquired about his frequent trips to Yerevan, Grigor did
tell them that he goes there to organise gay and lesbian gatherings. “They
think I’m doing this out of my excessive organisational zeal. I’m not going
to tell them more than that. They’d be very upset.” Gyumri is a city where
conservative traditions are very deeply rooted.

Grigor is pessimistic about the likelihood of Armenian society ever
accepting homosexuals. “As a nation, we have zero tolerance for men and
women who do not procreate. This cannot be changed, not even if all the
barriers – intellectual and other – are removed,” he said, wistfully.

But a self-help group may be just what Armenian gays and lesbians need at
the moment. The more people join, the more secure and accepted they will
feel. At the same time they are receiving information about sexual health

Grigor is convinced a sense of togetherness will make gay and lesbian
Armenians feel much better. More and more people are attending the
gatherings. The third meeting drew some 50 participants, including 15
lesbians and transsexuals from Yerevan. The organisation has not been
formally founded, but the participants say that is the next step.

Gays and lesbians say they have always had a hard time in Armenia in the
face of deep-rooted prejudice and bias. “Although I have never experienced
violence, I often find threatening notes on my door when I come home.
Threats are a part of our daily lives,” said Grigor.

In August 2003 Armenia abolished an article in its penal code prescribing
severe punishment for male homosexuals. The infamous Article 116 recommended
five-year prison sentences for men found guilty of homosexuality.

Although the article had not been applied since 1998, seven men were sent to
prison under Article 116 in 1996, and four each in 1997 and 1998. In effect,
as long as homosexuality remained a criminal offence, a gay and lesbian
rights organisation was out of the question.

Armenian gays and lesbians say that the abolition of Article 116 has removed
a key justification for seeking asylum in foreign countries. But many still
complain of police brutality and complain they are not treated on an equal
footing with other citizens.

Aram, 19, an artist and teacher, said he had been humiliated and beaten up
frequently by his peers since they found out he was gay. “They go around in
groups, and it’s useless to talk to them,” Aram said. “When your paths
cross, it is almost impossible to avoid a conflict.”

Few gays ever report offences against them to the police, fearing their
families will be notified. The new self-help group hopes to offer advice and
protection for vulnerable people. At the moment their only feeble recourse
to justice is through international non-government organisations, NGOs.

Christine Mardirossian, human rights officer at the Yerevan office of the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told IWPR her office
has not received any complaints from individual gays or lesbians.

The Armenian Helsinki Group is probably the only local NGO that gays and
lesbians trust. They frequently involve the NGO and its head, Michael
Danielian, in their troubles.

“They call me when they get in trouble with the police. I go and bail them
out,” Danielian told IWPR. He cited about two dozen cases when the police,
knowing that someone is gay, have tried to extort money from him. Danielian
said gay people much prefer to pay rather than let the police inform their
families and employers they were gay, and bear the stigma.

Homosexuals face a tough time when they do military service, said Danielian.
“Once, a whole regiment went without food for several days, because they did
not want to sit at the same table with a homosexual,” said Danielian. The
taboo against homosexuality is so strong that if a conscript openly admits
he is homosexual, then his tableware is kept separately and gay soldiers are
not allowed to do any kitchen work, cook or handle food.

Another problem is that army doctors have been known to send conscripts to
mental institutions after “diagnosing” them with homosexuality, after which
they are exempted from military service.

“I believe homosexual men have the right to do their civic duty and serve in
the military,” Danielian said. “But fellow soldiers and officers must learn
to treat them with respect. They are regular citizens just like the rest of

Zhanna Alexanian is a reporter for the weekly Web bulletin

Remember, recall and pass on family history

The Corvallis Gasette
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Remember, recall and pass on family history


I enjoy genealogy and have worked with my parents and in-laws to assemble
information about my children’s family tree. I always felt it was important
that future generations hear and understand our family history. Little did I
know how true this would be.

One day I noticed gaps in my mother’s family tree. Since she was of Armenian
descent, I assumed poor recordkeeping was to blame. Then about 10 years ago,
I learned of a genocide directed at the Armenian people by the Turks during
the late 1800s and World War I. The reason for the hole in my family tree
dawned on me: Some of them never made it out.

Two years ago, I attended a lecture by Richard Hovannisian during Oregon
State University’s “Holocaust Memorial Week.” During the question-and-answer
session, I asked why family members – who must have seen these killings –
did not speak of it. His response was that other family members remained in
Armenia, and they feared reprisals for speaking out. This fear remained
strong 40, 50 even 60 years after they left Armenia. An Armenian woman in
the audience stood up and echoed those sentiments. Fear bred silence, and
silence shrouded our family’s past in mystery.

That brings us to 2004. My mother sadly passed away in May of 2003 and with
her, a chance to hear more of what her father had seen and done. Only three
children of the witnesses are alive in my family, and all are in poor
health. Through my uncle (the youngest of the remaining) I found a direct
link to the killings in 1895.

My grandfather lived on a farm near Mount Ararat and saw things firsthand.
He decided to immigrate to the United States with his immediate family,
traveling at night to board a ship bound for Ellis Island. From what I can
tell, my grandfather mentioned what he saw only once before his untimely
passing in 1944.

I have two purposes for writing this. First is to encourage the reader to
use every opportunity to learn about your heritage, no matter what you might
find out. Ask question, take notes, read letters, look at photo albums, ask
more questions. Future generations need to know this history, and when the
firsthand sources are gone, they’re gone. I regret not making a more
concerted attempt to talk with my mother. Don’t let fear stop this worthy

Second, April 24 has been marked as Armenian Remembrance Day. Please take a
few moments to remember those killed during the first genocide of the 20th
century, the prototype for the Jewish holocaust. Though my family was
impacted 20 years earlier, during the first Armenian “cleansing” in 1895,
those killings set the stage for events in 1915.

Do not let fear and silence be your family’s hallmark. Tell your history.
Remember, and then act.

Robert Clark of Corvallis owns Dixon Creek Software.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

CR: On the 89th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

[Congressional Record: April 20, 2004 (Extensions)]
[Page E548]
>From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []




of new york

in the house of representatives

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Mr. McNULTY. Mr. Speaker, I join today with many of my colleagues in
remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide. April 24th will be
the 89th anniversary of this human tragedy.
From 1915 to 1923, the world witnessed the first genocide of the 20th
century. This was clearly one of the world’s greatest tragedies–the
deliberate and systematic Ottoman annihilation of 1.5 million Armenian
men, women, and children. Furthermore, another 500,000 refugees fled
and escaped to various points around the world–effectively eliminating
the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire.
From these ashes arose hope and promise in 1991–and I was blessed to
see it. I was one of the four international observers from the United
States Congress to monitor Armenia’s independence referendum. I went to
the communities in the northern part of Armenia, and I watched in awe
as 95 percent of the people over the age of 18 went out and voted.
The Armenian people had been denied freedom for so many years and,
clearly, they were very excited about this new opportunity. Almost no
one stayed home. They were all out in the streets going to the polling
places. I watched in amazement as people stood in line for hours to get
into these small polling places and vote.
Then, after they voted, the other interesting thing was that they did
not go home. They had brought covered dishes with them, and all of
these polling places had little banquets afterward to celebrate what
had just happened.
What a great thrill it was to join them the next day in the streets
of Yerevan when they were celebrating their great victory. Ninety-eight
percent of the people who voted cast their ballots in favor of
independence. It was a wonderful experience to be there with them when
they danced and sang and shouted, “Ketse azat ankakh Hayastan”–long
live free and independent Armenia! That should be the cry of freedom-
loving people everywhere.


NKR Deputy FM Warns Foreign Agencies Against “Inadequate” Reports

NKR Deputy FM Warns Foreign Agencies Against “Inadequate” Reports

Mediamax news agency
21 Apr 04


The deputy foreign minister of the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic [NKR],
Masis Mailyan, has expressed satisfaction with the fact that the
recently-published 2003 international narcotics strategy report by the
US Department of State does not any longer contain information
promoted by Azerbaijan concerning the cultivation and spread of
narcotics in Nagornyy Karabakh and its subject territories.

In an interview with Mediamax, Mailyan said that this became possible
due to the openness of the Karabakh authorities that have repeatedly
addressed appropriate international structures, particularly the OSCE
and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as
the US Department of State with an appeal to set up an independent
monitoring group which will be sent to Nagornyy Karabakh to study the
situation on the ground and establish objective facts.

Mailyan recalled that “in order to hamper the sending of such an
international mission to Nagornyy Karabakh the Azerbaijani side has
been putting forward unacceptable conditions during several years,
thus misleading the international community”.

The NKR deputy foreign minister expressed the hope that from now on
the US Department of State as well as international structures will
refuse using inadequate information in their reports. “We are sure
that the activities of the group of independent experts will allow to
put an end to the farfetched accusations on the part of Azerbaijan and
will prevent further misinformation of the international community,”
Mailyan said.

Germany interested in stable South Caucasus

April 21 2004

Germany interested in stable South Caucasus

BAKU, April 21 (Itar-Tass) — German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
said his country was interested in a stable South Caucasus.

Speaking at a press conference after talks with his Azerbaijani
counterpart Elmar Mamedyarov on Wednesday, Fischer called for
resolving the Karabakh conflict as soon as possible.

`Being a member of the OSCE Minsk Group, Germany, as an international
partner, is trying to contribute to the resolution of this conflict,’
he said.

Fischer and Mamedyarov had discussed bilateral economic and cultural
cooperation, the fight against terrorism, regional security, the
upcoming NATO summit in June, and democratic processes in Azerbaijan.

The German foreign minister said his country was ready to `assist
Azerbaijan in every way to ensure its democratic development.’

In his words, the European Union is actively discussing a new concept
of neighbourhood with the South Caucasus countries. `Compliance with
the Council of Europe’s human rights requirements and the
implementation of economic reforms are an important condition of
cooperation between the European Union and countries in the region,
including Azerbaijan,’ he said.

In the evening, Fischer is due to meet with President Ilkham Aliyev.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

En toute intimité, la générosité humaine du poète Aznavour

Le Monde
21 Avril 2004

En toute intimité, la générosité humaine du poète Aznavour

L’artiste se produit, jusqu’au 21 mai, au Palais des congrès, à
Merveilleuse , sur le coup, est sa jeunesse. Son air de jouvence, sa
lumière, sa verdeur. Simplicité, naturel, liberté. Cet échange
insolite d’émotion entre la multitude, dans la salle, chaque être de
cette multitude, et ce pierrot, noir et blanc, lumineux, là-bas, ici,
détendu comme en solitude, sans façons. Cette vivacité, cette
esquisse de pas de danse et ces arrêts, soudain, ces repos rêveurs,
printemps ou automnes.

Et les mimiques de rien, semblants de gestes, regards, mains qui se
posent, jeux de grand acteur qui ne joue pas, ombres de conscience,
enfance du c`ur. Une incroyable intimité et sans cesse une vérité, un
sérieux, quelque chose de grave dans l’attention donnée aux
souffrances, aux injustices. Et un effacement sensible. Une
générosité humaine. Oui, merveilleux Aznavour, qui partage le poème
comme on partage le pain. Entre nous.

Emigrants, immigrants, dénuements, espérances, luttes, comédiens,
savants, artistes, l’Arménie et la France, mineurs de fond et
chauffeurs de taxi, Picasso et Madame Curie, pensées intimes d’un
monde entier, par l’envoi, l’envol, de mots simples, de notes justes.

Saurons-nous jamais pourquoi les artistes, tels Aznavour et ses
semblables, ne sont pas appris, récités, sur les bancs des écoles,
dans les anthologies aux côtés de Baudelaire, de Verlaine, puisque
c’est du pareil au même, quelquefois.

Le Palais des congrès, où chante ces jours-ci Aznavour, est une
immensité. Un orchestre et des voix l’accompagnent. Ces circonstances
font qu’Aznavour, pour se faire entendre, force, de temps en temps,
sa voix. Ce n’est plus tout à fait, de temps en temps, sa voix. C’est
plus bel canto, et moins fraternel. Ce n’est pas grave, puisqu’il est
là, lui. Et si vous l’aviez vu chanter à Erevan, vous envieriez les
Arméniens qui ont l’habitude de faire bisser les chansons. Ils lui
firent chanter quatre fois de suite J’aime Paris au mois de mai. La
quatrième fois, il demanda une chaise. Le délire.

“Nous nous reverrons un jour ou l’autre”, chante Aznavour en nous
quittant. Il ajoute : “Si Dieu le veut.”

Michel Cournot

Charles Aznavour, au Palais des congrès, 2, place de la
Porte-Maillot, Paris-17e. Mo Porte-Maillot. Jusqu’au 21 mai à 20 h 30
; le 9 mai à 16 heures. Tél. : 01-40-68-00-05. De 38,50 à 98,50 .
Le 22 mai, soirée anniversaire donnée au profit de la lutte contre le
cancer, à 20 h 30. Tarif spécial : 58,50 à 158,50 .

La seconde vie de l’OTAN

Le Monde
21 Avril 2004

La seconde vie de l’OTAN

À quoi sert l’Alliance atlantique ? Légitime en 2002, lorsque les
Etats-Unis, la considérant davantage comme une contrainte que comme
un atout dans le cadre de la lutte antiterroriste, l’avaient
marginalisée, cette question ne l’est plus en 2004.

A tel point que l’optimisme de son secrétaire général, Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer, pour qui “elle fait mieux que résister, elle s’élargit et
prospère”, n’apparaît pas déplacé. En accueillant sept nouveaux pays
d’Europe de l’Est (Bulgarie, Estonie, Lettonie, Lituanie, Roumanie,
Slovaquie et Slovénie), elle démontre qu’elle n’est plus seulement un
club suranné datant de la guerre froide, mais une alliance militaire
et politique à laquelle souhaitent adhérer un nombre croissant de

En intervenant en Afghanistan et en Irak, en envisageant de le faire
dans le cadre du “Grand Moyen-Orient” et en Afrique, elle a fait
sauter le verrou qui, selon le traité de l’Atlantique nord, la
cantonnait au théâtre euro-atlantique. Ses limites tiennent à la
volonté politique des gouvernements, elles ne sont plus
géographiques. Elle se transforme en acquérant flexibilité et
réactivité avec la mise sur pied d’une Force de réaction capable
d’être projetée rapidement sur les zones de conflit. Enfin, elle se
réconcilie avec elle-même : la crise du début de l’année 2003,
lorsque la France, l’Allemagne et la Belgique s’étaient opposées à la
“logique de guerre”, est surmontée.

Soucieux de reprendre des relations décrispées avec Washington, ces
trois pays sont rentrés dans le rang, et la France, principal
contributeur à la Force de réaction, est désormais citée en exemple
par les dirigeants américains, qui n’hésitent plus à lui confier des
postes-clés : un amiral français a été affecté au commandement chargé
de la transformation de l’Alliance, et un général français à la Force
de réaction. L’Alliance atlantique et l’Union européenne,
traditionnellement soupçonneuses l’une de l’autre, ont enfin trouvé
un gentleman’s agreement. La première accepte désormais l’existence
de la défense européenne, comprenant que celle-ci puisse être
complémentaire et non pas forcément concurrente.

Dans les Balkans et en Afghanistan, on voit que s’élabore sans le
dire un partage des tâches qui peut être fécond. Cette évolution de
l’Alliance est largement due aux revers essuyés par les Américains.
Si les affrontements sanglants en Irak soulignent autant les limites
de leur puissance militaire que celles de leur capacité à analyser
les failles de leur stratégie, ils en ont pourtant tiré une
importante leçon : l’Amérique ne peut tout faire seule. Cette
redécouverte est dictée par le souci de partager un fardeau de plus
en plus lourd avec ses alliés, c’est-à-dire la responsabilité d’un
éventuel échec.


C’est pour cette raison que le président George W. Bush vient de
demander “un rôle plus formel pour l’OTAN” en Irak. Ce n’est pas un
hasard si le choix de l’Amérique en faveur d’un “multilatéralisme
effectif” se porte sur l’OTAN, seul forum international où Washington
dispose d’une influence prépondérante. Cela signifie-t-il que le ciel
transatlantique se soit dégagé ? Partiellement, puisque ces avancées
sont fragiles, mais il est vrai que l’OTAN et l’Union européenne,
parce qu’elles poursuivent un objectif commun (la stabilisation du
continent européen, l’effacement des lignes de fracture de la guerre
froide), se rejoignent de plus en plus.

Les deux organisations ont suivi une stratégie identique,
s’élargissant pour l’essentiel aux mêmes pays, exigeant d’eux des
réformes étrangement semblables comme condition d’entrée dans leur
“club”: un Etat de droit et une société démocratique, une économie de
marché qui fonctionne, la lutte contre la corruption, la bonne
gouvernance, le respect des minorités, la résolution des conflits
frontaliers. S’y ajoutent pour les pays qui rejoignent l’Alliance une
réforme en profondeur de leur armée, afin que celle-ci soit
“standardisée” avec celles de l’OTAN.

Ce faisant, les deux organisations ont pratiqué une même fuite en
avant. L’OTAN, parce qu’elle voulait échapper à l’obsolescence
gagnant une alliance militaire soudainement privée d’ennemi, l’Union
européenne, parce qu’elle se révèle incapable de définir son
identité, et donc ses frontières. Nul ne sait quelle est la finalité
de ce double exercice.

L’OTAN a-t-elle vocation à devenir une sorte de coalition mondiale
contre un terrorisme devenu lui aussi planétaire ? Elle est en tout
cas appelée à se renforcer. Les 18 et 19 mars, à Bratislava, au cours
d’une conférence internationale sur le “nouvel agenda de la grande
Europe”, une étonnante unanimité s’est manifestée pour rejoindre au
plus vite la “famille euro-atlantique”. L’Albanie, la Macédoine, la
Bosnie-Herzégovine, la Croatie, mais aussi l’Azerbaïdjan, l’Arménie,
la Moldavie, la Géorgie et l’Ukraine, voire la Moldavie et la
Biélorussie, aspirent à rejoindre l’Union européenne pour son
développement économique, et l’Alliance atlantique pour son
“parapluie” de sécurité. Ce double élargissement provoque
l’irritation de la Russie, qui voit fondre son “glacis” avec
l’avancée vers l’est de l’Europe des limites territoriales de l’UE et
de l’OTAN. Moscou élève le ton depuis que les F-16 de l’OTAN assurent
la sécurité du ciel des pays baltes, et menace de faire dérailler le
traité sur les armes conventionnelles en Europe (CFE).

Comme la Russie ne peut plus se permettre d’avoir de mauvaises
relations économiques et politiques avec l’Union européenne et
qu’elle s’est engagée dans un partenariat stratégique avec l’OTAN, il
s’agit surtout d’une posture de négociation. Il est probable qu’à
terme les pays baltes parviendront à normaliser leurs relations avec
leur puissant voisin, à l’image de la Pologne depuis son entrée dans
l’OTAN, en 1999.

Les Européens ont contribué à cet aggiornamento transatlantique. La
vieille tentation française de miner de l’intérieur l’organisation
atlantique s’est émoussée, et la stratégie consistant à renforcer un
“pilier européen” dans l’Alliance n’a plus beaucoup de raisons d’être
depuis qu’il n’existe plus “d’opposition entre l’UE et l’OTAN”, ainsi
que l’affirme Jacques Chirac. “Notre implication dans l’Alliance se
justifie d’autant plus qu’elle va de pair avec nos ambitions pour
l’Europe de la défense”, a expliqué la ministre de la défense,
Michèle Alliot-Marie. “Nous avons réeuropéanisé l’OTAN”, se félicite
un diplomate français.

Les Européens en voient une démonstration dans le fait que leurs
pressions, ainsi que celles des pays arabes, ont convaincu les
Etats-Unis d’amender profondément leur plan pour le “Grand
Moyen-Orient”. C’est sans doute vrai, encore que le sanglant bourbier
irakien fait de toute façon perdre beaucoup de sa crédibilité à un
plan régional censé s’inspirer de la pacification démocratique à

L’Irak marque ainsi les limites de la réconciliation et de la
confiance au sein de l’Alliance atlantique. Car le sentiment gagne
chez les Européens que l’administration américaine leur a menti, afin
de les entraîner dans une guerre qui, au lieu de pacifier, risque

Laurent Zecchini

Armenian opposition warns public against “spontaneous action”

Armenian opposition warns public against “spontaneous action”

19 Apr 04


The Armenian opposition does not rule out the possibility of dialogue
with the authorities without any conditions attached provided they
halt political repression in the country, set the opposition activists
they arrested free, make it possible for citizens to move freely
around the republic and punish those who falsified the results of the
2003 presidential and parliamentary elections. This was said in a
joint statement by the Justice bloc and the National Unity party
received by Arminfo today.

“The incumbent regime, led by President Robert Kocharyan, has burnt
all the bridges leading to reconciliation with the nation after the
tragic night of 12-13 April [when the opposition rally was
dispersed],” the statement said.

The statement added that there is no other way but change the
authorities but this should be done in a peaceful manner. The
opposition told the authorities that they would not be able to hold on
to power for a long time “by violently attacking their own people”.

[Passage omitted: reported details on vote of confidence]

The statement urged the public “not to yield to provocation and to
avoid spontaneous action”.