In plenary sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe (PACE) January 27, a
resolution phrase that troubled Armenian representatives
was changed in hope of avoiding misunderstanding.
As reported in ArmeniaNow January 16, the Armenian
delegation to PACE had concerns about a sub-paragraph
in the 28-paragraph report that said: "There
was no progress in negotiations on the settlement
of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and other conquered
"We must do everything possible so that
this resolution won't be put to vote in that form,"
stated the National Assembly's Foreign Relations
Committee Chairman Armen Rustamyan.
At the Armenians' suggestion, the word "other"
has been stricken from the report.
But even though the delegation won't return to
Armenia until tomorrow (January 31), there is
already heated debate in political circles here
on whether the wording suits Armenia's position.
Is it a victory or did Armenia lose a war of
words in Strasburg? Oppositional members of the
delegation regard keeping the expression "conquered
territories" in the resolution as a defeat.
"Unfortunately, our country's foreign policy
suffered terrible defeat. Only 40 people participated
at the voting of the word 'other'. In fact, a
question of great importance for our country was
resolved by votes of only 17 of 313 delegates
from 45 countries," said oppositional National
Unity party leader Artashes Geghamyan.
Secretary of the Justice bloc, Victor Dallakyan
says the approved wording represents the weakness
of Armenia's PACE delegation.
"'Nagorno-Karabakh and other conquered
territories' formulation was kept in a resolution
concerning Azerbaijan. In fact, nothing has changed,"
President of the National Democratic Union Vazgen
Manukyan regards the change concerning the word
as normal and results of sessions as unsuccessful.
"Since the very beginning that word was
included into resolution to be taken out of it
later. If they kept that word in the resolution
then it would turn out that negotiations on Karabakh
conflict are over and Nagorno Karabakh is regarded
as conquered territory, which must be returned
Using the word "shame" Artashes Geghamyan
defined another formulation of the resolution.
"Parliamentary Assembly of CE expresses
regret that there was no progress in finding peaceful
solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan
concerning Nagorno Karabakh."
Dashnak Bureau chairman Armen Rustamyan spoke
against the original paragraph. According to him,
it presented the Karabakh conflict as conflict
between Armenia and Azerbaijan. By presenting
Armenia as a conflict party the Karabakh conflict
is pushed aside.
"There were no observer groups in Karabakh.
Those groups must either seriously deal with that
or leave it for some other structure, who is well
experienced in that, for instance OSCE. The OSCE
realizes that it is dangerous to take abrupt steps."
However, as Rustamyan's offer hadn't been discussed
beforehand, the commission adopted the document.
Offers made by oppositional representative Shavarsh
Kocharyan also became a subject of stormy discussions.
In particular, concerning a confidence referendum,
which was rejected.
"In February 2003, following admonitions
of observer mission of CE, opposition, both National
Unity and Peoples' Party of Armenia, chose the
constitutional way. As a result, the well-known
resolution of Constitutional Court was born, according
to which it was offered to conduct referendum
on confidence. It means that we followed all guarantees
made by the CE, however, by its voting the CE
hasn't followed its decisions," Geghamyan
In an interview given by Minister of Foreign
Affairs of Armenia Vardan Oskanian by Public TV
he stated that the national delegation doesn't
act in unison.
"Our opposition talks about its problems
moving the question of change of power to Strasburg.
In fact, our dirty laundry was taken to Strasburg
and they conduct work towards including the question
concerning change of power into the report,"