Council of Europe Not the Politburo Says Kocharian

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian said on Thursday said that while he finds the recommendations of last week’s Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resolution "normal," he disagrees with its assessment of the Armenian authorities’ response to the street protests launched by the opposition one month ago.

The April 28 resolution warns Armenian authorities that PACE will consider stripping the Armenian delegation’s voting rights in the Assembly–unless it remedies–by September–abuses addressed in the resolution.

"We are reviewing [the document]. I see no particularly big problems in its content," he told journalists. "But there are quite serious inaccuracies in the description and chronology of events."

He said that a response to the descriptive segment of the resolution will come in a few days–while an official response will be submitted to the June session of PACE. He also said that a PACE monitoring delegation will arrive in Armenia’soon to examine the situation first-hand.

"The Council of Europe is an organization of which we are also a member. We have a right to vote and express our opinion there. We are there to defend our common interests–not to clear domestic matters," stressed Kocharian–adding that the Council of Europe should not be perceived as the Soviet Union’s governing Communist Party Politburo. "You must not regard the Council of Europe as the former Politburo where they made and imposed decisions."

Though important–the decisions of PACE are not binding for the Council of Europe leadership.

Kocharian also downplayed fears that international focus on Armenia’s political instability would affect foreign investment into the country. "Armenia’s economy will suffer greater damage if investors begin to question the ability of authorities to establish order in the country." He admitted–however–that recent tensions will bear some negative impact. "Those people attempting to escalate tensions do not realize that negative repercussions will eventually be felt by all Armenian citizens."


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