War Complicates Armenia’s Situation

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–If the US and its allies cannot neutralize the organization that committed the terrorist acts of September 11 soon–there is a threat that the war in Afghanistan will be a durable one. This opinion was expressed by National Assembly Vice-Speaker Tigran Torossian. Torossian stated that although Armenia provided its air space–the warplanes reach Afghanistan by other routes–therefore there is no danger to our country.

According to the deputy of the NA–representative of the PPA Stepan Zakarian–the greatest threat is that the war may transform into struggle between Muslims and Christians. If the extremists manage to portray it as a struggle against Islam–a great number of Muslims will join the ran’s of terrorists. According to Zakarian–the anti-terrorist war will last very long and its consequences are unpredictable.

Chairman of the NA standing commission on defense–national security and internal affairs–representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Hovaness Hovannissian–finds that before initiating military operations a clear definition of terrorism must be formulated. According to him–there is no clear distinction drawn between terrorism and national-liberation struggle. In such conditions it is very easy to call someone a terrorist. Terrorism is a political phenomenon whose roots must be exposed and destroyed. Otherwise–it is very difficult to uproot terrorism even by means of war.

In Hovhannissian’s opinion–the war in Afghanistan will complicate Armenia’s situation–because by providing its air space to the anti-terrorist bloc–Armenia in fact became part of the bloc. Hovhannissian thinks that all countries participating in the struggle against terrorism may become targets of terror. In particular–Armenia’should be wary of its neighbors that may take advantage of the current situation and use it against it. This circumstance–according to Hovhannissian–puts additional obligations on the country’s security system and defense–on the entire state machinery. Hovannissian stressed that the army’s fighting capacity must be increased immediately.

The US authorities presented Armenia with the investigative evidence gathered proving the involvement of the Al-Qaida organization in the terrorist acts of September 11. Armenia again reaffirms its commitment to the coalition combating against international terrorism–and remains convinced that international terrorism threatens not just individual states–but the entire civilized world. The struggle against such terrorism must be firm and persistent.

Armenia’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Monday supporting the US-led strikes against Afghanistan. "The Armenian authorities received evidence from the US government showing a link between Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaida organization and the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon," it says.

"The Armenian government regrets that the diplomatic efforts seeking to find Osama bin Laden and hand him over to the US law-enforcement officials failed. Armenia reconfirms its support to the international coalition of anti-terrorist fight and regards terrorism as a threat not only to individual states but also to the entire civilized humanity. At the same time Armenia expresses hope that the military campaign against suspected terrorist networks will not lead to a further deterioration of the plight of Afghan civilians and regional destabilization."

Secretary of the Presidential Security Council–Minister of Defense Serge Sargssian left for Dushanbe–where he is to participate in the special session of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the signatories to the Collective Security Treaty. The participants will discuss the issues related to the retaliatory efforts of the US and Great Britain in Afghanistan. Washington and London requested Russia to exert influence on the countries of Central Asia for them to render their assistance in carrying out military operations in Afghanistan.

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