Aram Sargsyan Says Armenia Will Stay on Course to Democracy

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–During his meeting with leaders of parliamentary factions and chairmen of parliamentary standing committees–Armenian Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan stressed that he will continue the policy pursued by Vazgen Sargsyan’s cabinet. He said that the direction towards democratic development chosen by Armenia has no alternative. The prime minister denied accusations of any curtailment of freedom of speech and press–but pointed out that he expects journalists to recognize their responsibility for the country’s future.

A. Sargsyan admitted that the assassinations on October 27 unveiled another set of problem. "We have no concept of state security–nor do we take relevant measures," the prime minister said. According to Sargsyan–the state system is very delicate. After the tragic events–the army felt the need to play the noble role of a stabilizer–he noted. But political and public institutions must instill so much confidence in society and the army–that the army’s assumption of political responsibility involvement in politics will always be ruled out–he said. The prime minister believes that the army must not get involved in politics–but rather stay in barracks.

October 27 also shook Armenia’s international prestige–hitting the investment system first–Sargsyan said.

One of the government’s priority tasks is the discussion of the 2000 draft budget–Sargsyan said. "The budget must be based on strict logic: revenue patterns must be real and executable," the prime minister said. "The execution of the revenue pattern must not hinder the activities of economic agents. The expenditure pattern must be aimed exclusively at the implementation of the country’s development programs," he said.

The prime minister assured the parliamentarians that during the next four years the government will not raise taxes and other obligatory paymen’s. On the contrary–it will take steps aimed at simplifying the tax system and accounting. Sargsyan also gave assurances that he will translate into reality all the agreemen’s reached by his older brother at the IMF annual meeting. He stated that he will continue the struggle against corruption started by his predecessor and that the government will take all necessary measures to this effect by May 2000.

"I agreed to take the post of prime minister–because I am convinced that the continuation of the policy pursued by Vazgen Sargsyan and his government is of vital importance to the country’s future. The task that Vazgen Sargsyan–his cabinet and the Unity block set themselves was to create in the shortest period all prerequisites for building up a prosperous and law-abiding state where all citizens will have equal possibilities. And it will become our main policy. Both mine and my cabinet’s," Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan said.


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