1543) "Armenia Is Trapped in Its Past " Artur Baghdasaryan

YEREVAN -- Armenia is at a crossroads. Key elections for parliament in May and for president only nine months later are coming. Who will win matters, but how they win matters more. My country suffers from an undemocratic political system and widespread corruption. . .

The citizens of Armenia are not free. Our media is state-controlled and TV airtime for opposition parties during the parliamentary campaign is severely limited. Our citizens are poor; the majority of the national wealth is in the hands of a few oligarchs. Privatization was accompanied by massive corruption.

Much of Armenia's establishment remains trapped in the past. But dwelling on sad memories hampers our relationship with our neighbors, chiefly Turkey and Azerbaijan. This cannot be conducive to peace, stability and long-term prosperity. Given the huge benefits Azeri energy supplies and Turkish investments would have for Armenia's economy, normalizing our ties with these two countries -- with which we have no diplomatic relations with -- would be crucial for us and the entire region.

The unresolved conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh must be resolved. It dilutes Armenia's and the region's strategic value. We have a common interest in ensuring that our region can capitalize on its geopolitical position and become the link between Eastern European and Central Asian markets. The only durable solution is a negotiated settlement which will require compromises on both sides.

For political and economic progress in Armenia, we need predictability in our foreign policy, which is why Armenia needs close ties with the EU and NATO. Particularly our chances for EU membership would be better if we and our neighbors learned to cooperate better and solved our frozen conflicts.

We need a strong government in Armenia to carry out the necessary reforms, which above all means a legitimate government supported by the people. The next election in Armenia must be free and fair. Our citizens deserve better living standards and more incentives to stay in the country. We keep loosing our brightest who are discouraged by the poor prospects at home.

The way to resolve in Nagorno-Karabakh the conflict is through elections that produce legitimate governments -- first in Armenia but eventually in Azerbaijan as well. This popular legitimacy will give the next governments the authority to make the necessary concessions. Unfortunately, there are forces in the Armenian government that might try to steal the upcoming elections. And there are be those abroad who might turn a blind eye to such a scam in the name of stability. But stability will only come to Armenia and the region through governments supported and elected by the people. That's why we need international election monitors. The OSCE mission in Armenia must be supported so that it can do its job. The coming election can pave the way for Armenia's economic and political recovery.

Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2007

*Mr. Baghdasaryan is chairman of the opposition Rule of Law Party in Armenia.

Dear Friends (Lara and Ara)
Above article which was printed in the "Wall Street Journal Europe" dated 21.02.2007 has been brought to my attention by a dear friend. It is comforting that there are still some politicians in Armenia that can speak "sense and realities`, which are not heard in the World and USA because of the loud "Genocide Fanfaronade".

I know that types such as Sassounian and Boyadjian will attack immediately Mr. Baghdarsyan and keep him behind the bars of the Dashnak "dicta mafioso".

Please convey to friends. The Turkish explanatory introduction can be removed, it is intended for those who are not fluent in English.

Speaking of "freedoms of opinion, democracy. human rights" and similar crap, people must ask why Baghdasaryan cannot publish such an article in Armenia !

Kind regards

Sukru Server Aya


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