STRASBURG TO “EXAMINE” ALL

Despite the Armenian authorities’ efforts towards the implementation of Resolution # 1609, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is going to discuss the issue on the “Activities of the Democratic Institutions in Armenia” in its summer session on June 23-27, taking into consideration the non-adequate assessment made by the Monitoring Committee at the last moment.
   Following the visit of J. Columbier and J. Prescott, co-rapporteurs of the PACE Monitoring Committee, Chairman S. Holovati expressed an opinion on June 20 that it was justified to hold a discussion devoted to Armenia in the Assembly’s plenary session.
   As we see, the European organizations are making much haste. And the reasons for such haste are neither Armenia nor its opposition.
   The EU Summit held in Brussels on the eve of the PACE summer session has led to the realization of the “idea of the Eastern Partnership”- an initiative undertaken by Poland and Sweden, (recommending the European Commission, its executive body, to speedily elaborate the detailed program on the principles and activities of the next summit to be held in March 2009).
   The authors of such bold initiative are mainly those eastern and Baltic countries which have just joint the European Union and NATO. Encouraged by the United States and gradually finding themselves between the evil and the deep sea, i.e. the “Old Europe” on the hand and the livening cooperation of Russia on the other, they have elaborated the “Western Cooperation” format aimed at integrating the Eastern European and South Caucasian countries of the former USSR (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and, if possible, Belarus) to the Western community. And there’s the following goal: to grant those countries privileged conditions for trade and economic cooperation in addition to a visa regime.
   Such bold step by the EU leaders is also dictated by the serious discords with Russia in the process of the implementation of the NABUKO program aimed at exporting power generating substances. In such conditions, Europe again joins its efforts with the purpose of spreading its influence upon the independent states of the eastern and south-eastern parts of the former USSR.
   So, it’s not accidental that the process of implementing the bold initiative dictated by serious geo-political and geo-economic motives is immediately included in the agenda of the PACE summer session with stricter “procedures of examining” the democratic institutions in almost all the above-mentioned states and their neighboring countries.
   Judge yourselves: the PACE has just several days to discuss the following:
   a) the activities of the democratic institutions in Azerbaijan
   b) the results of the parliamentary elections in Georgia
   c) the activities of the democratic institutions in Turkey with respect to Article 301 of the country’s Criminal Code, and R. Zarakoghlu’s trial, i.e. the freedom to hold discussions devoted to the Armenian Genocide.
   d) the problem of combating environmental pollution in the Black Sea basin, an issue closely connected with exporting oil from the Russian ports via the Bosphorus Strait etc.
   It turns out that the PACE summer session is going to become a big tribunal for “clearing up matters” among the future members of the “Eastern Partnership” and their closest neighbors, i.e. Turkey and Russia. So, it becomes quite clear and conceivable why, after J. Columbier and J. Perscott’s visit to Armenia, the possibility of holding an extraordinary discussion on the “Activities of the Democratic Institutions in Armenia” in the June 23-27 session seemed quite likely.
   The overlapped “South Caucasian” agenda causes all the countries of our region, as well as their closest neighbors to be involved in some long-term regime of total monitoring, as it is. In such conditions, each country will become faced with sharply increasing demands in terms of democratization, freedom of speech, transparency of elections and other issues.
   Does this mean that the PACE summer session may decide to deprive our country of the right to vote as well?
   We believe not, because the task set to the PACE by the European Union and the United States does not concern the situation with the democratic institutions in Armenia as a separate country, but rather, the clarification and completion of the geo-political and geo-economic course, important for the further development of the whole region.

 

 

VARDAN GRIGORYAN

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Filed under armenia, armenian elections, Democracy, human rights, opposition, Ter-Petrossian, world

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