ARF Stance on Karabakh Unchanged Says Leader

YEREVAN (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan–Yerevan News Agency)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Apo Boghigian–in a press conference following the return of the ARF Central offices in Yerevan Thursday–almost three years after they were ransacked and confiscated–announced that a meeting between party representatives and Levon Ter-Petrosyan may be a possibility in the near future.

According to Boghigian–if and when a meeting is scheduled–it will be with Ter-Petrosyan and in no way with his representatives.

According to Boghigian–the Karabakh issue will indeed be on the agenda for the meeting–although the various political trials will probably not be addressed. The reasoning–according to the ARF leader–is Ter-Petrosyan’s views on the separation of the judicial and executive branches of the government. "Our party’s position on the Karabakh issue has always been and still remains the same: Karabakh must be independent," said the leader. Boghigian continued saying that the cooperation and support between the party and the Karabakh government is at a very high level.

Boghigian added that the continuation of the political trials would seem moot–once the ARF is officially legalized and political tension diminishes.

The harsh and unfair treatment of the ARF in Armenia has produced a feeling of estrangement in the Diaspora–said Boghigian–adding that the tense relations have provided for less tourism and investment on behalf of Diasporan Armenia’s.

As to what the ideal model of relations should be between the Diaspora and Armenia–Boghigian noted that he did not the exact model in his head–but said that the re-registration of the ARF in Armenia would be a major step toward the strengthening of those relations–because–as the party leader said–the ARF does have an extremely loyal and strong following outside of Armenia.

Boghigian noted that the talks between the party and the authorities have continuously focused on the past–and according to him there has been no talk about the future.

The ARF official went on to say that even "if ARF is re-registered in the near future–that will not mean that the relations [between the authorities and the ARF] will instantaneously become warmer."

He also stressed the necessity for close cooperation on issues of national concern.

Boghigian stressed that nobody and nothing gained from labeling the ARF as a terrorist organization or any other name calling for that matter. Moreover–recently the authorities were forced to thank the party for its tireless efforts in the Diaspora–specifically on the maintenance of Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act–as well as the UNESCO Ottoman anniversary issue.

The one shortcoming of the ARF–according to the leader–has been to insufficiently inform Armenia’s about the situation in Armenia. "We did not manage to soundly present the whole horror of the damages caused by the present authorities," contended Boghigian.

Boghigian went on to praise the work of Hayots Ashkhar–which according to the leader is currently operating under seriously abusive circumstances.

Boghigian concluded by saying that the efforts of the ARF to move the physical location of the ARF Bureau to Armenia was hindered by Ter-Petrosyan’s declaration–but he expressed hope that the move could soon be put into motion again.

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