ARF’s Hovhannisian Addresses the Issues

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–As a government coalition partner–the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) has serious reservations about sending troops to Iraq–Armenia’s Parliament Vice-Speaker and ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovhannisian told a press conference on Friday.

He indicated that Armenia’should consult with ally Russia–as well as major European powers opposed to the Iraq war before making a final decision.

"We remain a signatory to the Collective Security Treaty and if we can’t solve this issue with our allies–we would be very wrong," Hovhannisian told a news conference. "We also have senior partners in the Council of Europe–France–Germany–and Russia–that are not quite enthusiastic about the American actions in Iraq. As a member of the Council of Europe–we cannot fail to take into account their opinion."

"But the most important issue is that we have large communities throughout Arab countries and the broader Muslim world," he added.

Responding to a journalist’s inquiry on whether the ruling coalition’s ideals correspond to those of the ARF’s–Hovhannisian said "not completely," adding that opinions differ on certain points regarding constitutional amendmen’s and the country’s electoral code.

Asked about the ARF’s option to quit the coalition–Hovhannisian responded–"If the existence or activities of the coalition prove not to be in conformity with our ideas of Armenia’s political and economic development–no doubt–we can leave the coalition," but he stressed that the party would "never use this possibility of leaving the coalition as blackmail or threat."

Hovhannisian also voiced discontent with Council of Europe’s (CE) Terry Davis’s latest report on the Mountainous Karabagh conflict–saying it "is composed by oil companies?and doesn’t reflect the CE point of view."

Davis is the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe Rapporteur on Mountainous Karabagh.

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