Armenia’s Inclusion in Council of Europe in its Final Stages

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian was recently interviewed by Armenpress regarding Armenia’s inclusion in the Council of Europe–stating negotiations were in their final stages for membership to become a reality.

Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Armenpress: What is your reaction to the Eurocouncil’s opinion on the latest presidential elections in Armenia and the conclusions introduced at an EC Parliamentary Summit sitting two days ago?

Vartan Oskanian: The well-known statement by the Eurocouncil Parliamentary Summit Observation Mission on the Armenian presidential elections may be generally characterized by one statement of theirs: "There is no doubt of the legality of Armenia’s presidential elections." A March 20 EC Parliamentary Summit sitting was the first official tribunal in the after-election period to introduce conclusions on the presidential elections in Armenia. The main points of those conclusions are as follows: The presidential election in Armenia has won comparatively high appraisal by the Eurocouncil and OSCE. There is no doubt as to the legality of voting results (which fully express the people’s will and correlation between political forces in Armenia). As a result of Armenian electoral law’s imperfection–it is stressed that the voting process being implemented in Armenia is complicated and hard even for the countries with established democratic traditions.

The elections are marked by significant progress as compared with the 1996 elections and proves the general democratic progress in the country. Not a single election is perfectly held even in traditional democracies. Proceeding from this–it is pointed out in the conclusions that "the elections–undoubtedly–are marked by a great step toward Armenia’s joining Eurocouncil."

Armenpress: In this connection–how do you feel about Armenia’s joining of the Eurocouncil in light of past presidential election failures?

V.O.: The Eurocouncil’s opinion of the presidential elections held in Armenia is being especially emphasized on the eve of Armenia’s joining the EC. The process of Armenia’s joining is evidently to have approached its final stage. Armenia’s cooperation with the EC in different fields has been recently much activated – whether they are political–legal–cultural–educational or information. Proceeding from all this–I would like to mark one more important approach: Armenia apprehends the joining not as a final objective on itself but as a means of facilitation of a reformation process in the republic to make the democracy establishment here irreversible.

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