ARF Executive Council Protests ArmenTel Monopoly

YEREVAN (Yerevan News Agency)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation issued an announcement Monday protesting the continued monopoly by ArmenTel the state tele-communications company–90 percent of which was sold to the Greek OTE firm last.

The translated text of the announcement is printed below:

The severe mistakes–in the past years–of the legislative and executive authorities of Armenia have resulted in the looting and disappearance of the country’s economic internal resources. The privatization process has become further aggravated and unmanageable–especially given the absence of anti-trust monopoly laws–the clear example of which is ArmenTel.

When the administration of the country strategically important communications system has been entrusted to a foreign monopoly;

When the telecommunications system has been left outside of government influence and control;

When baseless rate increases have been instituted for poor quality of service;

When–despite international norms and practices–the administration of the said company is anticipating the collection of telephone fees on a monthly–as well as per minute basis;

And–when unprecedented fees are being charged for long-distance international services;

Under the current severe socio-economic conditions–the deman’s forced upon the people by ArmenTel are deemed unacceptable–thus the ARF Executive Council of Armenia appeals to the Armenian National Assembly to: *Evaluate and assess the contract with ArmenTel; and *Immediately adopt anti-trust legislation.

The ARF Executive Council of Armenia also appeals to the Armenian government to: *Reassess the agreement with ArmenTel and evaluate its legal basis; *In the event of fraud or any other illegalities–void the agreement and bring the responsible entities to justice; and *In assessing and determining rates–take into consideration the average wages of the population–making special accommodations for needy customers.

At the same time–the ARF Executive Council of Armenia calls on the people of Armenia–that in the event radical improvemen’s are not made–to demonstrate unity and fight for individual rights. The ARF suggests that on January 16–1999–as a preliminary warning–a one-day moratorium on the use of telephone services be observed throughout the country. In the event that the people’s just deman’s are ignored–the people are urged to refrain from using ArmenTel services–naturally halting all related paymen’s.

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