Kocharian Meets With Nation’s Intellectuals

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan–Armenpress)–President Robert Kocharian–for the first time–Saturday met with a group of more than 160 of the nation’s intellectuals–during which he detailed Armenia’s domestic and foreign policy–essentially presenting a progress report of his administration.

Kocharian emphasized that the issue of preservation of human rights and democracy was a key factor in both domestic and foreign policies of his administration.

He announced that there will never be political prisoners in Armenia nor will there be any political trials.

"Today–the "package deal" approach to Karabakh peace is being accepted by the international community. Today–we are engaged in concrete discussions to ensure equal rights in the peace process and the final outcome of the peace talks. I am convinced that in short time Azerbaijan–also–will approach these issues in a smooth manner," said Kocharian in discussing the Karabakh peace–adding that the co-chairmen of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group had already accepted Armenia’s approaches to the peace process.

Shifting his focus to Armenia’s domestic socio-economic life–Kocharian expressed dissatisfaction in a certain sector within Armenia’s political life–who–in an attempt to–what he termed as "self absolution" have placed the entire burden or blame on former Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Among the individuals named were Armenia’s former Aviation chief Shahen Petrossian–National Assembly member Edward Yegorian and former Yerevan mayor Vahagn Khatchatrian.

He attributed the crisis-stricken Aviation Department to Petrossian–while the privatization of numerous enterprises which have had detrimental effects on Armenia’s economy was attributed to Khatchatrian.

Furthermore–he asserted that Yegorian–an advocate of the current election code–should be held responsible for infamous 1995 parliamentary and 1996 presidential elections.

Kocharian said today–these same individuals in their opinion–"having identified the guilty party and having absolved themselves from any responsibility are organizing demonstrations and putting forth deman’s" on the government.

"Where were these people several years ago? Individuals who are responsible for the one-time looting of this country," Kocharian stated.

The president stressed that in due time–all individuals and groups responsible for instigating and initiating crisis in Armenia would be brought to justice.

The current National Assembly must adopt a new election code and a legislative package on judicial reforms before it resigns–Kocharian emphasized

He stressed that the discussions of bills concerning the judicial sphere are rather effective and the Parliament is likely to adopt the package by the date stipulated by the Constitution.

The president said that if the political forces fail to agree on the election code–in particular–on the election system–then in September he will try to get them together in his residence. "We will sit as long as it is needed to adopt a correct draft," Kocharian stated.

According to Kocharian–several other deputies besides Nver Chakhoyan have "serious problems with the Criminal Code." The Parliament recently rejected the decisions to strip Nver Chakhoyan of his immunity.

The issue of holding them responsible will be raised next year after this Parliament resigns its commission. According to the president–there is no point in raising this issue now–because the Parliament won’t strip these deputies of their immunity either.

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