ANALYSIS: PACE Should not Veer from its ‘Symbolic’ Role

The international reaction to the post-election events in Armenia continues, in particular, from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, also known as PACE. The resolutions passed by this European body have been continuously utilized by Armenia’s opposition, led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, to drive home his unwillingness to cooperate with any effort to establish healthy dialogue among political forces in Armenia.

Armenia is a member of PACE and as such has commitmen’s to that body. On the other hand, it seems that PACE is overstepping its authority by continuously and harshly criticizing the Armenian authorities, who on a certain level have taken partial responsibility for the post-election events and have pledged to work on instituting reforms outlined by PACE.

In late April, when PACE first delineated its deman’s, it gave Armenia only a month to adhere to those provisions. What PACE did not realize–or perhaps it did–was that every time it made a declaration or a reiteration of the deman’s, the volatile domestic atmosphere erupted, making the reforms impossible to enact and gave latitude to Ter-Petrosian and his gang to further taint whatever semblance of stability had been achieved.

The PACE was at it again Thursday, when its visiting President Lluis Maria de Puig issued a stark warning saying that Armenia will risk “catastrophic” consequences if it fails to adhere to provisions the body outlined in its resolutions.

This is why a comment made by France’s Ambassador to Armenia’several weeks ago should resonate more with Armenia, its opposition and the various international entities–including the US State Department–who have taken on the role of disciplinarians rather than constructive mediators or allies.

Earlier this month French Ambassador in Yerevan Serge Smessow, whose country assumed the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1, that the sanctions threatened by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly were largely “symbolic,” joining other EU diplomats in asserting that the post-election events in Armenia would not impact relations with the European Union.

If constructive strides are to be made in addressing the post-election events–as they should–these entities must adopt a more practical and productive approach than spreading rhetoric which is most often used by the opposition to further the schism it has created by taking part in the elections to begin with.

The same goes with the US State Department, which should look at the US’s current practices of democratic principles before pointing the finger at others, including Armenia. Does Guantanamo Bay sound familiar? Or maybe the rampant wiretapping by the Federal Government should be addressed?

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