Մատչելիության հղումներ

Opposition MP Unrepentant About Azeri, Turkish Support


Armenia -- Opposition MP Zaruhi Postanjian holds a news conference on June 29, 2008.

An Armenian opposition parliamentarian brushed aside on Monday government criticism of her decision to enlist the backing of Azerbaijani and Turkish colleagues for her calls for the Council of Europe to demand the release of all Armenian opposition members remaining in prison.

Zaruhi Postanjian was the only opposition member of the Armenian delegation during last week’s session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) that discussed the political situation in Armenia. In a fresh resolution, the PACE welcomed the release of most of the oppositionists arrested following the disputed presidential election of February 2008.

During a debate on the resolution Postanjian tabled three amendments that were co-sponsored by several other PACE members, including two representatives of Azerbaijan and Turkey. One of those amendments demanded that a general amnesty declared by the Armenian authorities extend to all jailed oppositionists.

The Strasbourg-based assembly refused to accept Postanjian proposals. Its adopted resolution only notes that the release of all oppositionists would “provide the necessary basis for the start of the dialogue and reconsolidation that is needed to overcome the political crisis.”

The other Armenian delegates in Strasbourg, including Armen Rustamian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, also rejected the proposed amendments. Some of them, notably Naira Zohrabian of the governing Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), have harshly criticized Postanjian for accepting the Azerbaijani and Turkish lawmakers’ signatures. In remarks promoted by pro-government media, Zohrabian has accused her opposition colleague of collaborating with Armenia’s arch-foes.

Postanjian, who is a senior member of the opposition Zharangutyun party, angrily rebutted the criticism at a news conference in Yerevan. “Yes, I let them sign my proposal,” she said. “I let them sign the call for the release of participants of the Artsakh liberation war … I would do the same even after all this fuss.”

Postanjian referred to the fact that the oppositionists remaining in jail include several veterans of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war for Nagorno-Karabakh. One of them, parliament deputy Sasun Mikaelian, is a former field commander who played a major role in what Azerbaijani and Turkish officials call “Armenian aggression” against Azerbaijan.

Armenia -- Naira Zohrabian, MP from Prosperous Armenia party at a press conference, 29Jun2009
“Ms. Postanjian has registered her very serious defeat,” Zohrabian insisted on Monday. “So I don’t want to aggravate her plight and will not comment on her statements anymore.”

Postanjian and other Zharangutyun leaders, who unequivocally backed her actions in Strasbourg, said the outcry reflects the pro-government lawmakers’ frustration with their failure to secure a more positive assessment of the Armenian authorities by the PACE. In particular, the latter expressed serious concern at the authorities’ failure to prosecute anyone in connection with the deaths of ten people in the March 1, 2008 clashes in Yerevan between security forces and opposition protesters.

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