Parliament Adopts Statement on PACE Resolution

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Days before the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is due to consider Armenia’s progress in dealing with its post-election crisis, Armenian lawmakers have adopted a coalition-authored statement on the fulfillment of the Strasbourg-based organization’s deman’s set to the Armenian government in mid-April.

The statement, containing more than two dozen points dealing with what has been done towards the implementation of PACE Resolution 1609, was passed on Tuesday with 80 votes to four, with two abstentions. The statement also mentioned that time was needed for what has not been fulfilled yet.

The resolution passed by the PACE among other things demanded an independent, transparent and credible inquiry into the March 1 clashes in Yerevan between security forces and opposition supporters and an urgent release of the persons detained on seemingly artificial and politically motivated charges. It also said that the legal amendmen’s that effectively banned opposition rallies should be repealed. The resolution also stressed that the measures were necessary conditions for a dialogue between the Armenian government and the opposition as well as far-reaching political reforms that the country needed to implement.

The resolution had warned that failure to comply with the deman’s could lead to the suspension of Armenia’s voting rights at the organization’s summer session opening June 23.

The vote came as members of the PACE Monitoring Commission Georges Colombier and John Prescott were completing their two-day visit to Yerevan during which they held numerous meetings with representatives of the Government and the opposition to try to assess the situation on the ground.

Late on Monday, both held separate meetings with President Sarkisian and ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian.

During their meeting with Sarkisian, the three men discussed the activities of the presidential working group established to oversee the Government’s implementation of the PACE resolution.

Prescott hailed the establishment of the presidential working group. He stressed that the PACE is well aware that the timetable given to the Armenian Government to implement its recommendations is not sufficient for registering comprehensive progress in all directions. Nevertheless, the organization, he said, appreciates the political will to make the changes.

The President underscored that the Government’s implementation of the recommendations forwarded in PACE resolution 1609 is in line with his pre-election platform and is also being implemented in accordance with the governing coalition’s political program.

According to Sarkisian, Armenia’s authorities are committed to continue along the process of democratization.

But democratic reforms are not only limited to what is outlined by the PACE resolution, Sarkisian noted, adding that democratic reforms beyond what is required by PACE will continue in Armenia.

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