The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Tuesday was elected to the vice-presidency of Socialist International, with Armenia’s ARF Women’s Organization leader Maria Titizian filling the position.
The ARF, which has been a full-fledged member of SI since the 2003, will fill one of 37 vice-presidencies of the organization. Titizian’s position will oversee a vast region, which includes Armenia.
The SI convention also re-elected Yorgho Papandreou as its president and Luis Ayala as its Secretary General.
The meeting convened Monday in Athens with the ARF participating with nine representatives. Aside from Titizian, the organization was represented by ARF Bureau members Mario Nalbandian and Levon Mkrtchyan, ARF Central Committee of Greece members Kevork Kolanian, Alice Papazian, Kaspar Garabedian, Vahan Bzdigian and Ricardo Yerganian, as well as the ARF Lebanon Central Committee chairman Benjo Bdjakdjian and the “Azad Or” newspaper representative editor Hripsime Harutunian.
In discussing the possible membership of the Socialist party of Turkish-occupied Cyprus, Nalbandian, echoed the sentiments of the Socialist Party of Cyprus and voiced his opposition to the proposal.
In his remarks, Nalbandian said that any party that wishes to join SI, must adhere to its principles of fraternalism, equality, justice and peace. As long as Turkey continues to occupy a portion of Cyprus and abuses the people’s rights, it cannot be allowed to be a part of Socialist International.
The ARF delegation, led by its Bureau members, held several meetings, including one with SI president Papandreou, who expressed interest in visiting Armenia as one of his priorities.
Participating at the SI convention were dignitaries from throughout the world, including Paraguay president Fernando Luco, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abaas, Israeli defense minister Ehoud Barak, Russian Duma president Sergei Muronov and Cyprus Foreign Minister Yanakis Omirou.
The convention also voted to expel the Socialist Party of Fiji, since it recently joined a coalition government led by the country’s military junta.
Since its full-fledged membership in SI in 2003 and advisory status membership in 1999, the ARF has been represented in numerous SI conventions and regional meetings, including participation in SI Women’s Organization and the International Union of Socialist Youth (SI’s youth organization).
Founded in 1951, the present Socialist International is the successor to the Socialist International established in the late Nineteenth Century, to which the ARF became a member in 1907. In the 1960s, the ARF’s membership in SI was terminated because of changes in SI’s regulations. At SI’s 1996 Congress in New York, the ARF joined the new SI as an observer. The decision to grant the ARF full membership was made in the SI Council’s meeting in Casablanca in June 2002. The decision was reinstated by the 22nd Congress in San Paolo.
The Socialist International presently includes 150 socialist’ssocial democratic’sand labor parties from throughout 100 countries. Fifty-two of these parties actively participate in their respective governments.