ARF is an Alternative Political Force, Says Hovannesian

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, through its political program and approach is an alternative political force, said ARF Bureau member and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Vahan Hovannesian during a press conference Monday.
"We are an alternative with our rank and file, our mode of operation,” added Hovannesian, explaining that what sets the ARF apart from the opposition was its style. “The activites of the opposition during the past four years resulted in its failure to be elected to the parliament. Our methods of work and criticism are an alternative to that of the opposition’s,” explained the ARF leader.
He also reiterated the party’s position on nominating its own candidate for the upcoming presidential elections and expressed the party’s support for the presidential candidate nominated by the authorities in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
He explained that it was imperative for the ARF to maintain its independence in the Armenian election process, thus its decision to introduce a candidate for the upcoming presidential race. However, he explained, in Karabakh, as long the security of the people was being guaranteed, then the candidate who will ensure that element won the endorsement of the party.
“The situation in Karabakh is different than the situation in Armenia. If some people deem the Karabakh presidential election a political event of global importance, we think the security of Karabakh does not depend on the personality and approaches of the president of Karabakh only. It is fought for and prepared here [in Yerevan],” added Hovannesian.
He also argued that generally elections in Karabakh have been more fair and free in the past, while noting that in the current state of affairs it would impossible to expect the complete application of democratic norms in Karabakh.
“I think any government seeks continuity. It is an axiom, I did not invent it,” explaining the motivation of the Karabakh authorities, who have introduced a candidate who would continue the current status quo. “It is not bad, if at the same time the security, prosperity, growth of the people is sustained. Ostensibly, Bako Sahakyan is viewed as someone who would ensure the continuity, otherwise the decision to support Bako Sahakyan made by the ARF of Karabakh would be illogical. The stance of this organization is the stance of the party which has been spelled out,” added Hovannesian.
In discussing the ongoing peace process, Hovannesian said that statemen’s that the OSCE Minsk Group efforts for the Karabakh conflict resolution have been exhausted were made by Azerbaijan and are continuation of the Azeri propaganda.
He said that the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have done a good job, adding that none of international institutions like the Council of Europe, or the UN or even the CIS, have had such a professional and expert team as the OSCE Minsk Group.
“It is too early now to state that the task of the group is exhausted. We are satisfied with their activity and we see developmen’s–a more profound understanding of the issue and reflection of this understanding in the documen’s they propose–which naturally anger Azerbaijan,” said the Parliament’s Deputy Speaker.
Hovannesian added that under the current circumstances, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs have done the utmost. Despite alternative statemen’s made by Armenia and Azerbaijan, they have managed to create a document that at least was capable of becoming a basis for conflict resolution.
“The problem is Azerbaijan’s position. I believe that from now on Armenia must toughen its position and insist that Azerbaijan announce what concessions it is ready to make and to secure Nagorno Karabakh’s participation in the negotiation process,” he stressed.
Hovannesian also discussed recent concerns voice by the US regarding Armenia’s growing relations with Iran. The ARF leader said that the US concerns were directed to Iran and to Armenia.
Hovannesian explained that the US and the European Union have always known that a blockaded country “does not have a choice.”
He said Armenia must continue maintaining its neutral position as it stems from its national interests. Besides, the US representatives also noted recently that Armenian-Iranian energy cooperation were well regarded.

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