President Kocharian Says Armenia Has No Right to Ban Dual Citizenship

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian president Robert Kocharian said that this year alone–470 former residents of Armenia lost their Armenian citizenship after becoming citizens of other countries. "The strength of the country is not only measured by the number of its permanent residents but also by the number of its citizens," he told Yerevan State University students and professors.

He argued in favor of lifting the constitutional ban on dual citizenship enacted in 1995–saying 70 percent of those leaving the country would likely retain their Armenian citizenship. "We are losing our citizens," he said.

But he also stressed that the government must first concentrate on what needs to be done to stop emigration–then think of bringing Armenia’s back to their homeland.

"A nation with such an extensive diaspora has no right to apply a ban on dual citizenship. We can regulate all questionable issues by laws to eradicate all concerns–such as the right of diaspora Armenia’s to vote and get elected to a public office in Armenia," Kocharian said. "I feel pain every time I have to sign documen’s revoking people’s Armenian citizenship."

A package of constitutional amendmen’s that will be put to the national referendum on November 27 lifts the ban on dual citizenship.

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