Ter Petrosyan Says Policy on ARF Has Not Changed

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Levon Ter-Petrosyan held a meeting with journalists Monday. The meeting was intended to clarify several issues of concern–particularly questions of domestic policy.

Ter-Petrosyan disapproved of the idea of holding early parliamentary elections.

Asked by journalists whether he considers it necessary to hold early parliamentary elections–Ter-Petrosyan noted that the only way possible for early elections–would be to dissolve the current parliament.

He also reminded that this constitutional provision once had been sharply criticized as it allegedly gave him dictatorial powers. "I do not want to be a dictator," said Ter-Petrosyan.

At the same time he stressed that a new law on elections to the parliament must be adopted–adding–"at the time of adopting the law we knew that it was not perfect."

The law in force was adopted in 1995.

Ter-Petrosyan noted that he had launched the process aimed at establishing national accord in the country.

Asked how he sees the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s role at the end of that process–Ter-Petrosyan said–"Why at the end? We can describe the ARF’s fate today already–if our laws are duly observed."

To a remark that the ARF has changed its constitution and that it is represented in Armenia by the ARF Executive Council–Ter-Petrosyan answered–"Then what is the Bureau?"

In his statemen’s Ter-Petrosyan clearly signalled that leadership-ARF relations had not changed since Dec. 28–1994 when he issued his now infamous decree banning the activities of the ARF in Armenia.

"I welcome rallies and I welcome the maximum use of .rights bestowed by the Constitution–I just do not accept the violation of the law. I just can’t put up with the violence; it is not good killing people–it is not good storming buildings–it is not good trampling the grass," he said.

Ter-Petrosyan also noted that he was not going to interfere in the "Trial of 31." Asked why the Central Electoral Committee refused Vahan Hovanessian’s registration as a candidate to the National Assembly–he said–"I do not know on what grounds he has been refused registration–but I can imagine–how the trial would prolong for some time to come.

"The sooner the trial ends–the better it is for them. Perhaps–the court will acquit them. I do not interfere in these judicial proceedings. In this everyone will get what they deserve. Anyway–I would like to believe our courts," Ter Petrosyan stated.

According to Ter-Petrosyan–the border incidents–which have become more frequent during the last two weeks–do not endanger the truce as a whole.

"There have always been such occurrences; now they have only become rather frequent. Spring field-work accounts for the given fact. Such incidents occur each time people from both sides approach the frontier. We should avoid encounters. We haven’t failed to do so for three years now–neither shall we today," he explained.

Asked about his opinion on issues of cooperation–Ter-Petrosyan explained–"Cooperation is possible only in case of a resolution acceptable to both sides–Karabakh and Azerbaijan. In this case there’ll be no obstacles in the way of cooperation. Otherwise cooperation will be still a long way off."

Commenting on the alleged illegal arms deal–Ter-Petrosyan explained–"The turmoil over arms supplies was fraught with several risks. One of them worked: it was aimed at wrecking the ratification of the agreement on the Russian military base. These plans have failed–so we’ve won it.

"I rely on the new prime minister to deal with corruption–as he possesses all required characteristics to tackle the problem; he is strict–disciplined and I am sure he’ll succeed in putting things right in the tax and customs systems," Ter-Petrosyan said.

"As to the ministers–Vazgen Sargsyan and Serge Sarkisyan are rather interested in "cleaning" their departmen’s.

"Read the ?Zinvor’ and the ?02′ newspapers and count how many crimes are being uncovered–how many people have been punished–discharged from their offices–convicted; this is all due to them.

"Don’t expect a miracle and don’t forget about the tradition. Is it possible to eliminate bribery if a policeman is paid $30? He needs to be paid at least $500 to have fears lest he should lose his job. The same goes with the judicial system and public prosecutor’s offices. As long as we don’t pay good money these phenomenon will be impossible to eradicate."

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