Public Officials Urged to Avoid Confrontation

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"Today society is poisoned and contaminated with reciprocal mistrust due to an array of reasons. The events of October 27 stirred a new tide of mistrust and suspicion. In such an atmosphere we are running the risk of losing all of our gains and achievemen’s–including our statehood," Vahan Hovanessian–head of the parliamentary standing commission for defense–national security and internal affairs–said at a briefing late last week. Hovanessian summarized the results of the preliminary debate over the anti-corruption bill and the bill on police as well his commission’s discussions on the internal situation in the country.

On behalf of the commission Hovanessian urged the public and political forces to avoid confrontation in the given situation.

Considering it inadmissible that any kind of interference be made in the course of investigations into the October 27 crime–Hovanessian expressed concern over the fact that society is not informed about the progress of the investigation–and there are serious grounds to suspect that some evidence may be framed for political reasons. At the same time he expressed hope and certainty that it is possible to avoid a similar development. He urged the investigation group not to yield to any pressure.

Speaking of the anti-corruption bill and the bill on police–Hovanessian reported that the forthcoming hearings of the anti-corruption bill in parliament on December 1 will include issues relating to sources–trends of corruption development and means to combat it. In Hovanessian’s opinion–such a broad range of issues will lead the debate beyond the bill frames and will put the problem on a broader basis. The agenda is also expected to include amendmen’s to a number of laws.

It is quite apparent that corruption is a widespread social phenomenon in Armenia. It has now increased to appalling proportions to pose grave danger to the country’s national security. Just one law alone is no good in dealing with corruption. "A set of measures are needed–including that law as one of its elemen’s," said Hovanessian.

The commission meeting also discussed the bill on police–which is now complete for the most part.

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