Sunday, January 17, 2010

Arman Grigoryan talks to HZH about PACE

Below are rough translations of two brief articles in Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times)about the upcoming PACE meetings - they talk to Arman Grigoryan, the ANC's representative to PACE, about these issues.

Major undertaking, high sponsporship? HZH article here

Arman Grigoryan, ANC’s representative to PACE, made an astounding revelation while speaking with our correspondent yesterday. He was informed by a PACE official, he said, that the visit of PACE co-Rapporteurs to Armenia planned for November-December did not take place because PACE did not want to exert additional pressure on the Armenian authorities at a time when the entire political oxygen was being used up on Armenian-Turkish relations, and PACE did not want to disrupt the process of resolution of Armenian-Turkish relations.

The planned November-December visit had been postponed till January, but it has now become clear to our correspondent yesterday that that meeting, too, has been postponed. As PACE explained to Arman Grigoryan, the visit of the corapporteurs will take place when the “essential attention is not concentrated on other issues.” This means that the corapporteurs will come to the Republic of Armenia only when some of the issues related to the Armenian-Turkish—which also means those related to the Nagorno Karabagh issue—have been disentangled. Perhaps this very approach is the reason why the authorities of the Republic of Armenia announced that the issue of March 1 is closed and that the Republic of Armenia no longer has any problems with PACE, etc. Seemingly, the authorities of the Republic of Armenia hope that Armenian-Turkish relations will continue to sap all the political ogygen and PACE will just not have its turn.

On the other hand, the processes underway since early January testify to the fact that the “concentration” on the Armenian-Turkish issues is coming to its end, after which PACE will have no restrictions in terms of working with Armenia. After that, if PACE suddenly retreats—using some excuse or another—from the current political prisoners in the Republic of Armenia, from their stern positions to reveal the circumstances surrounding the events of March 1, and postpone future visits and deliberations at monitoring sessions, it will become obvious that the price for the Armenian-Turkish relations and the resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh issue are the 15 political prisoners now detained in prisons and that the deal has been made under the high auspices of the Council of Europe.

Confidential Report to be Discussed HZH Article Here

At its upcoming session on January 24, PACE’s Monitoring Committee will examine the confidential report on Armenia, presented by co-rapporteurs John Prescott and Georges Colombier at the preceding session.
Let us remind you that the preceding session of PACE’s Monitoring Committee held in Paris on December 17 had become somewhat scandalous. First, the issue of our country had entered the agenda quite unexpectedly, and it was announced that the well-known report of Nikoyan’s committee was to be examined. But on the day of the session, the co-rapporteurs for our country failed to appear, with some inane excuses, making it impossible to examine the issue.
It later became known, however, that the co-rapporteurs had presented a confidential, secret report on Armenia, and which was made public, here in Armenia, by Armen Rustamyan, member of both the ARF and of the Armenian delegation to PACE. The confidential report was quite harsh and described Nikoyan’s report as “insufficient.” Remember that the co-rapporteurs had deemed the investigation of the death of the ten victims as insufficient, and had stated that at least 3 individuals were killed by special methods used by the police, but that the guilty have not yet been punished. They had also mentioned that after March 1, a large number of opposition supporters were imprisoned and persecuted, and to date there are no clarifications, and that the reference from Nikoyan’s committee on that issue is insufficient. It is also mentioned that there are multiple contradictions in the report submitted by the Nikoyan’s committee, meaning that the analyses contradict each other. At the end of the report it was stated that the monitoring committee continues to monitor Armenia and will return to the issues of our country during the next meeting of the committee. Arman Grigoryan, ANC’s representative to PACE, in an interview with us yesterday informed us that the above-mentioned report of the co-rapporteurs will be discussed at the upcoming meeting. «As to what will happen during discussions, it’s hard to predict. It seems to me, of course, that our delegation will try to soften some of the theses of that report and change others. But I hope they won’t succeed and the basic assessment of that report remains intact,” said Arman Griogoryan, who answered a few more of our questions yesterday:

- The December 17, 2008 report of the monitoring committee was extremely harsh, and had included the “term political prisoner.” Later, they removed that term from circulation, despite the fact that currently there are 15 political prisoners in the Republic of Armenia. In your opinion, are the reasons for such a softening of their assessment again have to do with the Armenian-Turkish and Nagorno Karabagh processes?

- I can’t confirm that with 100% certainty, and there may have been other reasons. But I also can’t be sure that such consideration has not played a role. I am not surprised that they made certain concessions to the authorities of the Republic of Armenia, among them taking the term “political prisoner” out of circulation, because that, and a few other things, were the price they would have to pay in order to have at least a few of the political prisoners released in June.

- Do you have any information about their views on the remaining 15 political prisoners?

- They are still attentive to the issue of political prisoners, despite the fact that the term has been removed from circulation. Even if there are no open deliberations about it, I know that they don’t consider the problem of political prisoners resolved. There have been communications about that issue with me; we are in communication on a continuous basis on the issue of political prisoners. PACE has requested certain information with which they have been provided, and I know that negotiations between PACE and the Armenian authorities continue regarding the remaining political prisoners. Unfortunately, at the moment, it is difficult to speak of any concrete results, but this is not a closed subject for PACE.

- Mr. Grigoryan, will the recorded violent acts and fraud during the January 10 elections during the 10th electoral district be considered in any way at the sessions of the monitoring committee?

- To tell you the truth, I’m not sure that they will get around to discussing the topic this time at the session of the Monitoring Committee because the agenda is prepared previously, and the issues to be discussed are agreed upon ahead of time, and, there is the issue of time. But that they will be informed of the outrageous elections of January 10, there is no doubt.

Second article by Lucine Barseghyan, January 16, 2010

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