By Hrach Melkumian
Deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian saluted the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday for its latest positive assessment of Armenia’s human rights and democratization record. Torosian, who is a leading member of the governing Republican Party (HHK), also commended the Armenian opposition for avoiding strong attacks on the government in Strasbourg last week.
In a resolution adopted during its regular session, the 45-assembly concluded that the Armenian authorities have stopped impeding anti-government rallies, released all of their arrested participants and investigated human rights abuses reported during last spring’s standoff with the opposition. Those were the key requirements of its previous resolution on Armenia adopted on April 28.
Torosian declared that Yerevan could have hardly received a more encouraging message from the respected human rights organization. “I think this is an unprecedented resolution in terms of its positive evaluation of Armenia’s efforts to fulfill the obligations to the Council of Europe,” he told a news conference.
The resolution’s adoption was facilitated by unexpected cooperation between the pro-government and opposition members of the Armenian parliamentary delegation in Strasbourg which is headed by Torosian. While disagreeing with the document, the opposition lawmakers stopped short of denouncing President Robert Kocharian’s human rights record and even co-authored some amendments with Torosian and other members of the Armenian parliament majority.
Torosian hailed the apparent deal with the opposition as an “extremely important” step towards easing lingering political tensions in the country and improving its image abroad. Opposition leaders, however, have played down the implications of their restrained behavior in Strasbourg.
(Photolur photo: Tigran Torosian.)