YEREVAN (ARF Press Service)–In a unanimous vote of its Council Saturday in Casablanca–the Socialist International welcomed the Armenian Revolutionary Federation as a full–voting member of the prestigious organization. The Finance and Administrative committee of SI recommended the ARF’s membership to the council.
The Council decision needs approval by the entire body during its world congress–which is scheduled for March 2003.
The meeting which was attended by 450 delegates representing 96 Socialist parties–was chaired by the Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Gutierres and heard a welcoming speech by Prime Minister of Morocco Abderrahman Youssoufi.
"Becoming a full–voting member is proof that the ARF is regarded as an influential political party and that could have a positive effect for Armenia in dealing with its domestic socio-economic issues–as well as regional concerns needing immediate resolution," stated ARF Bureau member and ARF representative to SI Mario Nalbandian.
"The full membership will allow the ARF to develop ties and cooperation on an equal footing with other socialist organizations–some of which are politically influential," added Nalbandian who also announced that the ARF also garnered full membership status within SI’s women’s and youth organizations.
The ARF was a full member of Socialist International in 1907–but had ceased its activities in the 1960’s due to changes in SI’s rules. In 1996 the ARF was granted observer status and elevated to advisory status in 1999. The socialist International presently comprises 141 political parties–some of which either presently lead the governmen’s of their respective states or act as the leading opposition party in them.
In its current form–the Socialist International–established in 1951–is the heir of the same group that formed in the 19th century.
Nalbandian attended the two-day Council sessions in Casablanca and was accompanied by Maria Titizian–who represented the ARF in the women’s meeting.
After discussing issues and conflicts throughout the world–including the Middle East–Africa–Asia and Latin America–the council meeting adopted resolutions summing up the discussions and setting a course of action on international matters of concern.
One such resolution–presented by the ARF delegation–addressed the situation in Javakhk and the still-unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh. [See accompanying story]. Another resolution regarding Turkey focused on continued government pressures on the HADEP party.
The resolution expressed solidarity with the HADEP party–calling it a democratic movement and condemned the Turkish authorities ongoing persecution of the party,
During the two-day meeting–ARF representatives met with SI president and Portugal prime minister Antonio Gutierres and SI Secretary General Luis Ayala.