Vahan Hovhannisian Discusses Borders Internal Violence

PRESENTLY OPENING BORDER TO TURKEY WOULD STRANGLE ARMENIA’S ECONOMY

YEREVAN (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan)–Speaking at a press conference on July 12–Deputy Chairman of Armenia’s parliament and ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovhannisian–said that the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border–with its conditions–presently places Armenia’s interests under direct threat. He suggested instead–that Armenia pursue the opening of the Abkhazian railway. "The opening of a road benefits a country only if–as a result–the country develops," said Hovhannisian. He noted that the opening of the Abkhazian rail would enable Armenia to export competitively priced products to the markets of the post-Soviet countries. These same products–however–regardless of their quality–cannot presently compete in European markets.

On the other hand–Hovhannisian said that the Armenian farmer would sustain serious losses if Armenia’s borders with Turkey were reopened–explaining that Armenian products are significantly higher priced than comparable Turkish items. Cheaper products from Turkey would flood the Armenian market–forcing Armenian farmers out of business. Only Turkey would benefit from the move–explained Hovhannisian. Armenia would gain nothing from the move since it has enough sustainable domestic resources. ON LAW-ENFORCEMENT Referring to the latest assassinations and skirmishes in the country–Hovhannisian said that the violence is political in nature and that the follow-up investigations conducted by the Armenian law enforcement bodies have been disappointing and unacceptable.

"Four phases of elections were held in the country during the last eight months. . . . People or groups of people advocating strong-arm methods to solving problems have begun to play a considerable role; these circles remain out of control [today]." Following the election period–Hovhannisian said that these forces believed "they could also apply their methods during a so-called peaceful life–if we consider elections to be a clash of opinions and interests."

The leadership–charged Hovhannisian–has not only been lax in preventing such violence–but law enforcement bodies have also failed to launch full and exhaustive investigations–". . . what is evident is that [unnecessary] restraint has been practiced in the investigations [due to the political nature of the crimes]; this is not a good phenomenon."

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