Armenia Membership to Council of Europe Possible Next Year

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–Armenian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan said at the conclusion of meetings in Strasbourg that the present stage of relations between the Council of Europe and Armenia were good–and that membership in the Council of Europe could be a possibility in the near future.

Speaking about Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s visit to France–Oskanyan said the Strasbourg summit was of great value to Armenia as it depended on the summit as a gage of how soon Armenia would be allowed to join the Council of Europe.

Asked when Armenia’s membership may be registered–Oskanyan said it would depend on several factors linked to the process of democratization and economic reform in Armenia–and on talks currently under way on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Proceeding from these factors–the Council of Europe will make a decision on Armenia’s membership–and Oskanyan believes the decision may come early next year.

Just before leaving for the European Union Assembly in Strasbourg earlier this week–Levon Ter-Petrosyan said the Karabakh conflict had no influence on Armenia’s proposed membership in the Union–but that it might be a serious problem for Azerbaijan’s bid.

Hovhannes Igitian–Chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Relations Committee–said Azerbaijan continues to attempted to present the Karabakh issue as an example of Armenia’s aggression–as a result of which 20 percent of its territory has been occupied.

Yet–no international documen’s exist to prove this–and resolution No. 822 of the United Nations Security Council and several other documen’s stressed that Azerbaijan carried out a war with local military forces.

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