New Parliament Members Offered USAID Training

YEREVAN (Armenpress–RFE/RL)–US Deputy Ambassador to Armenia Vivian Walker said today the US is prepared to continue assisting Armenian authorities in the process of developing economic and political reforms–but added that the USAID and other donor organizations can only provide technical assistance.

"We do not want to and cannot take decisions on behalf of the people of Armenia on what road their country should choose. The future of Armenia’should be decided by its people and their elected authorities," Walker said at a seminar that started today at the Armenian parliament for the newly elected members of the Armenian National Assembly.

The seminar is organized by the USAID as part of a major project aimed at strengthening the Armenian parliament.

Parliament chairman Arthur Baghdasarian underscored the importance of continued USAID support to the legislature–"We hope to carry out important reforms in Armenia’s parliament during the implementation of this program."

However–only five deputies attended its opening session. Two of them have already served in previous parliamen’s. Parliament staffers displayed far greater interest–showing up in the dozens.

The course–which will run through July 3–is part of a broader program by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen Armenian legislature and also covers the core personnel of the National Assembly. It will largely involve seminars and discussions conducted by experts from the United States–Germany–Poland and Ukraine.

The US will also assist the Armenian parliament’s development of its library with the goal of connecting it to research libraries. This project will start next September.

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