By Armen Zakarian
Ronald Kenneth Noble, the visiting secretary general of Interpol, met with senior government officials in Yerevan Monday to discuss ways of stepping up cooperation between Armenia and the global police network.
Noble announced after talks with Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markarian and Police Chief Hayk Harutiunian that Armenia will become the 50th member of Interpol to join a global computerized network designed to track down criminal suspects. The Armenian police will install the network with a $100,000 grant provided by the government of Norway.
“The purpose of my visit to Armenia is to reinforce the strong police cooperation between Armenia and Interpol,” Noble told RFE/RL. “Interpol has recently designed a new worldwide communication system that will permit the police to send and receive fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples on a real time basis.”
“The prime minister assured me that Armenia will put this communication system in place and will ensure that it gets the necessary support from the state,” he added. “We are really happy with that result.”
Markarian, according to his press service, told the Interpol chief that Armenia will continue to “actively cooperate” with international law-enforcement structures in combating crimes like terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal migration. He also argued that his country’s relatively low crime rate testifies to the successful work of Armenian law-enforcement authorities.
Armenia joined Interpol shortly after its independence and is now, in Noble’s words, “one of the best countries in the world in issuing requests for the arrest of international fugitives.” Noble said Armenia has so far issued 372 international arrest warrants and Interpol has arrested 115 individuals wanted by the Armenian police. Forty-five of them have already been extradited to Armenia, he said.
The most prominent of Armenian fugitives sought by Interpol is Vano Siradeghian, the former interior minister who fled Armenia three years ago after being charged with ordering a string of contract killings while in power. His whereabouts remain unknown.