Armenia Ready for Council of Europe Membership

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Ernest Mullehman’said Thursday that Armenia met all the precondition to join the European body.

In meetings at the National Assembly–Armenia’s Parliament Speaker Khosrov Haroutiunian presented the situation in Armenia following the presidential elections.

Haroutiunian positively noted the return of the opposition to parliament–which–he assessed–had change the political climate within the national assembly.

Haroutiunian also briefed the Council of Europe delegation on judicial reforms in Armenia. He said that a new election code was in the process of being adopted and that opposition members also actively participated in its formulation.

The sides stressed the importance of expanding interparliamentary ties and efficient utilization of parliamentary diplomacy potentials. Issues related to regional cooperation and political settlemen’s of conflicts were also discussed.

Mullehman noted the progress Armenia had made in advancing democratic reform and said that Armenia had all conditions to join the Council of Europe.

He highly praised the formation of a free market system in Armenia and the development of businesses. Underlining the importance of Armenia’s initiative to hold a tripartite meeting of Armenia–Georgia and Azerbaijan–Mullehman’said that the meeting would served as the best example for the three Baltic States.

On Friday–Mulleham and his delegation met with Armenian President Robert Kocharian.

During the meeting Mullehman’stressed that the Council of Europe was closely watching the developmen’s in the Caucasus and emphasized the importance of democratic and economic reforms.

Kocharian stressed that conflicts existing in the region should not become an obstacle for membership in the Council of Europe.

He stressed the importance of direct talks between the parties to the conflict–noting that this would be the only way through which a solution could be garnered.

Kocharian welcomed the Council of Europe initiative for a meeting between the three parties to the Karabakh conflict scheduled for November in Strasbourg.

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