No Drastic Economic Policy Changes Envisioned

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"There is no point in carrying on bilateral negotiations without Nagorno-Karabakh," explained Armenian Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian Monday at a news conference. According to him–Armenia is willing to play a more active role in all negotiations of the Minsk group. Arzoumanian denied allegations that Robert Kocharian’s appointment as Prime Minister of Armenia might mean that Armenia’s position would toughen and that it might lead to a deadlock in negotiations. According to the official–the deadlock in peace negotiations over the Karabakh problem has been caused by Azerbaijan’s stubborn stance. "Three months ago–members of the Minsk group–forgetting about the confrontation in Karabakh–were busy discussing a purely procedural issue–the problem of co-chairmanship," he said. As for Robert Kocharian’s appointment–Arzoumanian noted that Armenia had experience in appointing foreign citizens to high positions (currently the positions of chief advisor to Levon Ter-Petrosyan and deputy foreign minister are held by foreign citizens). The Minister said that he had yet to hear any negative commen’s in that connection. Arzoumanian also commented on several social issues–including capital punishment. "Capital punishment should be banned in Armenia," said the minister. He added that a country killing its own citizens cannot be a member of the Council of Europe. Abolition of the capital punishment is a requirement for membership in the EC.

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