Kocharian Meets with ARF Reps. Diplomats

YEREVAN (Yerevan News Agency–Noyan Tapan)–Representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Executive Council of Armenia Vahan Hovanessian–and members Hrair Karapetian and Vartan Petrossian–met with Acting President–Prime Minister and presidential candidate Robert Kocharian–Thursday. The prime minister also met with the foreign diplomatic corps in Armenia–Friday.

The meeting addressed the outcome of the March 16 presidential election.

The ARF representatives noted that–besides isolated incidents of irregularity–the first round of election was held in a free and fair manner. Both sides expressed concern regarding preliminary reports of international observers which–without concrete evidence–asserted irregularities in the election process–traveling outside of their boundaries as independent and unbiased monitors of the election.

Both Kocharian and the ARF representatives–however–condemned the confirmed violations of law and demanded the disclosure and punishment of those responsible.

Among other issues discussed were the upcoming run-off election and matters of domestic concern.

The prime minister also met with representatives of the foreign diplomatic corps in Armenia–who told the prime minister that they agreed with reports that the elections were held in accordance with legal and international norms.

Present at the meeting were Russia’s ambassador to Armenia–Andrei Ournov–US Ambassador Peter Tomesen–French Ambassador Michel Legrand–British Ambassador John Mitchiner; Greek Ambassador Hakovos Spesios; German plenipotentiary representative Marion Ramekers and the UN permanent representative to Armenia Katitsa Tchegalovich.

The prime minister’s press service reported that Kocharian thanked the envoys for the participation of their countries’ delegations in the international election observer missions–adding that their participation was of utmost importance in ensuring the progress of democracy in Armenia.

He was also confident that observers will turn out in large numbers to monitor the run-off election scheduled for March 30.

In discussing the reports presented by the five observer missions–Kocharian stated that the reports–in general–properly presented the election conditions and situation–adding that with the exception of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe delegation report–all made a fair assessment of the voting.

Kocharian explained that there were three points in the OSCE report which he believed warranted further discussion: the utilization of government institutions for campaigning–a biased by the media–and the role of the police in elections.

He stated that OSCE delegation chairman Sam Brown had agreed to revisit the issue and correct inconsistancies in the final report.

He condemned all legal violations and flaws during the election process and pledged that his government would take all steps to ensure that such incidents were not repeated during the run-off election.

Kocharian added that criminal proceedings had already begun on three election violations–by the prosecutor general’s office.

Members of the diplomatic corps outlined that the purpose of the observers’ missions were to assist the citizens in the electoral process and further elaborate their perspective on the elections.

The envoys stated that while there were flaws in the election process–they did not affect the outcome of the election.

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