Armenian Government Approves Anti Corruption Program

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian government approved on Thursday its long-awaited plan to tackle rampant corruption–drawn up with financial support and strong encouragement from the World Bank.

The government said the involvement of ordinary Armenia’s will be critical for the successful implementation program. Officials promised to make its content available soon.

"The government realizes the extent of the danger posed by corruption and regards it as a social evil," said chief of cabinet staff Manuk Topuzian. He said the aim of the document is to "reduce–if not uproot" corrupt practices that are commonplace in virtually all of Armenia’s state structures.

A separate government statement revealed the anti-corruption strategy deals with politics–state bureaucracy–law-enforcement agencies–and the judiciary–involving a specific "program of action" for each sectors. The statement said that authorities have already come a long way by enacting a package of laws designed to minimize the possibility of government abuse in recent years.

Work on the document began two years ago after the World Bank provided a $345,000 grant to its authors.

The document underwent major changes in the last two months at the insistence of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)–a partner in the coalition government formed in June. ARF leaders strongly criticized its undisclosed initial version in September.

The program’s approval should pave the way for the release of more loans to Armenia from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which consider corruption a serious hindrance to the country’s economic development.

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