President Kocharian Ambassador Evans Review Process of Introducing Constitutional Reforms

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian and US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans met on Thursday to address the process of introducing Armenia’s Constitutional reforms.

In an August 26 statement–Ambassador Evans termed the revised constitution "a notable step forward," urging the government to take "the necessary steps? to increase public awareness about this important process so that a well-informed public can express its will in the referendum scheduled for November." If adopted–the revised constitution would enter into force two years from the referendum.

Armenia’s opposition groups vehemently oppose President Kocharian’s proposed changes to Armenia’s constitution that are backed by the international community. At the Venice Commission’s urging–the amendmen’s are intended to pass greater powers from the president to parliament and the prime minister. Among other provisions–the reforms call on the National Assembly to appoint the human rights ombudsman and members of the National Radio and TV commission. The president has also been removed from the Council of Justice–a body that plays a key role in appointing judges.

During their meeting–the Ambassador and President also reviewed the pace negotiations on settling the Mountainous Karabagh conflict.

Evans also thanked the Armenian government and people for their assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

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