CRITICAL JUNCTURE: THE SPEECH OF LEVON TER-PETROSSIAN AT THE RALLY OF 1 MAY, 2009
First, I would like to congratulate you and our entire nation on the International Day of Worker's Solidarity, the relevance of which has particularly increased with the sad reality Armenia currently finds itself in.
Exactly two months have passed since the rally on 1 March, which is not a long period, but it has been one filled with many significant processes and events, the following four of which I want to bring to your attention:
1. The deterioration of the socio-economic situation;
2. The wrecking of the "case of seven";
3. The deepening of the Armenian-Turkish dialogue;
4. Preparations for the elections of the mayor of Erevan.
What I will do below is attempt to present the positions of the Armenian National Congress regarding each of them in as brief a space as possible.
LEVON TER-PETROSSIAN'S SPEECH AT THE MARCH 1, 2009 PUBLIC RALLY
To comprehend how Armenia is perceived in the West today, one can simply take notice of the following remarkable fact. Recently in response to a question posed by an Azerbaijani journalist - "Why does the PACE adhere to the double standards as far as political prisoners are concerned, especially by refusing to accept that there are such prisoners in Armenia?" - this organization's co-reporter on Azerbaijan gave the following knock-out answer: "The West views Azerbaijan as an ally and does not wish it to compare itself with Armenia. Azerbaijan should rather compare itself with Turkey, Croatia, Slovakia and other Eastern European countries, which had great success in democracy-building. And what could one expect from Armenia? We were planning to punish Armenia, but you know that Russia and a few other states which are behind it have been able to influence the PACE members." (Hayq Daily, 02.07.2009). The European diplomat, therefore, classifies the countries into three categories, namely the Western European democracies, with which Azerbaijan as yet does not have grounds to be measured by the same yard-stick, the Eastern European countries that have taken the path of democracy-building, which must serve as role models for countries like Azerbaijan, and, finally, the failed states, the hopeless tyranny pariahs, which are not worth to be compared with, and with which Armenia is clustered in the same league, most probably next to Somalia and Zimbabwe.
Dear associates and friends,
The current conference of the Armenian National Congress, the aim of which is to clarify the strategy of the Popular Movement, is taking place under extremely complicated political conditions. It is complicated, moreover, not just in terms of the activities of the Congress, which continues to function despite the unprecedented level of harassment and violence that has been unleashed against it, but also in terms of the urgent problems facing our state, which requires adequate steps from the government and the opposition.
Leaving the choice of their own conduct to the authorities, we, as a political force that has certain responsibilities before the people, have the obligation, first and foremost, to determine the appropriateness of our actions given the existing situation. To begin, we have to have a clear picture of the challenges that Armenia is facing today. It is obvious that we are facing three main challenges: a) the impending resolution of the Karabakh conflict; b) the impact of the international financial crisis on the economy of Armenia; c) the imperative of restoring the constitutional order and the democratic freedoms. I, therefore, consider it necessary to reflect upon these challenges one by one - emphasizing especially the approaches the Movement has to work out to deal with each of them.
"THE FINAL PHASE OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE KARABAGH CONFLICT"
Mr. President, in your speech on 17 October you had promised always to
keep the society informed about the developments concerning the
resolution of the Karabagh conflict. Would it be correct to regard the
meeting between the presidents of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan -
Medvedev, Sargsyan, and Aliyev - as one such development?
- First, I have not forgotten my
promise. Moreover, in order to make our conversation more grounded, I
would like to remind the readers the appropriate excerpt of the speech:
"We are going to witness developments of utmost importance regarding
the resolution of the Karabagh conflict in the upcoming several months,
which at this stage make our domestic problems secondary. We are going
to follow these developments carefully, to assess the adequacy of the
steps taken by the Armenian authorities in response to the situation,
always to keep the society informed about the process of resolving the
Karabagh conflict, and to thwart or minimize the threats to the
interests of the Armenian side." As for your question, the Moscow
declaration should definitely be considered as one of the most
important developments in the process.
STATEMENT ON THE PRESSURES AGAINST SUKIASYAN FAMILY - 29.10.2008
Lately the "Bjni" factory stopped producing the "Bjni" mineral water due to a false charge. Instead of resisting the global financial and economic crisis and evading the destructive effects, the RA administration is doing the opposite and with that they will deepen the huge effects of the crisis in Armenia. With this illegal step the administration made nearly 500 people lose their jobs, the state budget lost a major taxpayer and it deprived the country from exporting one of the most competitive products in the international market.
If we take into account the other companies owned by the family, including "Pizza di Roma" and the "Phillip Morris" Armenian affiliate, it is clear that we are dealing with the political persecution against the Sukiasyans and not setting order in finances. The administration can't forgive Khachatur Sukiasyan for joining the pan-Armenian movement during the last presidential elections. The administration can't understand that Sukiasyan was guided not by his personal dislike, but rather his personal and professional approaches and beliefs for the development of the country. Sukiasyan is one of the few businessmen in Armenia who has specialized in the up-to-date mechanisms of free market economy and has worked in the field legally and transparently. He is trusted and respected by businessmen in Armenia and abroad, has paid all of his taxes to date and by not becoming a member of this criminal regime, has aroused anger among the administration members. We can imagine what happens to small and middle businessmen after seeing what is happening to a businessman who is known around the world.
The economic and political infringements on the Sukiasyan family is not just one case; it is a crime against the interests of all honest businessmen of Armenia the goal of which is to reform the economic field and criminalize it for good. Thus, the society must raise its voice of protest in order to put an end to those infringements and the panic among businessmen. The government, the National Assembly, the Union of Industrialists, the Sukiasyan family's colleagues abroad, as well as the offices of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank must express their concerns.
THE SPEECH OF LEVON TER-PETROSSIAN AT THE RALLY OF OCTOBER 17, 2008
I had promised to you during our rally on September 26 to reveal and explain in detail the strategy of the Popular Movement or the Armenian National Congress without concealing anything from you. Today it is the time to fulfill that promise, therefore, I ask you to be patient and to listen carefully to every word of my speech.
I have already had the opportunity to draw your attention to the unprecedented geopolitical situation in which Armenia has found itself lately, putting special emphasis on the fact that our country has never been as vulnerable to external pressure in the 17 years of its independent existence, as it is today. It is in this dangerous situation that instead of thinking about the interests of our state and the well-being of our people, Serge Sargsyan is worried exclusively about clinging on to power and having his legitimacy recognized. What is more, his recent steps demonstrate that in order to attain his goals he is ready to revise Armenia's foreign policy doctrine, and instead of preserving the policy of maintaining a balance between Russia and the West, gradually to lean toward the latter.
STATEMENT OF THE ARMENIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS - 10.09.2008
On the evening of September 9, the police brutally dispersed and took into custody a group of women participating in a hunger strike, which had been properly registered with the Yerevan Mayor's Office. The group of six women had also duly informed relevant international institutions of their decision to launch a hunger strike, demanding the release of political prisoners. During the action the police also illegally arrested Vladimir Karapetian the former spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, currently a representative of the Armenian National Congress. Mr. Karapetian and the hunger strike participants were later released without having been presented with any legal grounds for their arrest. The police also violently attacked journalist Emma Gabrielyan of the daily newspaper Zhamanak Yerevan, smashing her recorder and camera.
The continuous unlawful actions by the authorities and repression targeting representatives of the opposition demonstrate the true intentions of the government. While making public statements about democratic values and reforms directed at foreign audiences, here in Armenia the regime is becoming more authoritarian by the day, showing less and less respect for basic human rights and its citizens' inalienable right to freedom of expression. We strongly condemn such behavior and call upon the government to act in strict accordance with its international obligations and the law.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
HAS PLACED LANDMINES UNDER THE LEGITIMACY OF SERZH SARGSYAN - 11.03.2008
March 5, 2008 I brought two legal issues to the attention of the Constitutional Court. According to Article 78.1 of the Electoral Code, only in one case might the Prime Minister be registered as a candidate for the presidency — if he had the status of Acting President. As Serzh
Sargsyan did not hold this status, his registration was unlawful. According to Article
53.1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, "during martial law or a state of emergency no elections of the President of the Republic are held". "Presidential election" refers to the entire election process, beginning from the nomination up to the end of the timeline
for appeal, i.e. the verdict of the Constitutional Court. As the sessions of the Constitutional Court were held under such conditions, the election cannot be considered as legitimate and valid.
DIPLOMATS' STATEMENT - 24.02.2008
We, the undersigned, remaining faithful to our calling as Armenian diplomats and led by our feeling of responsibility before the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian people, with concern for the situation which has arisen in Armenia, with profound respect for the right of Armenian citizens to choose, with the conviction that only a president elected as a result of free and fair elections can best tackle the challenges in our country and support our compatriots who have struggled for the establishment of a real democracy in Armenia, considering the preservation of stability in the country important and dialogue in society necessary, appeal to our compatriots and especially to the representatives of all the structures in the country responsible for the maintenance of social order and peace to avoid the temptation of using force as a solution to these problems.
We appeal to all television companies in Armenia, and especially to Armenian Public Television, to allow impartial and complete coverage of events and to provide live airtime to representatives of all the powers which have a constructive position in the current political crisis.
We appeal to all our colleagues both in Armenia and abroad to join us in this statement.
Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Armen Baiburtyan
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia in Italy, Spain and Portugal Ruben Shugaryan
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Levon Khachatryan
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Armenia in Ukraine and Moldova Razmik Khumaryan