A senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) opposed to the fence-mending agreements with Turkey expects a key parliament committee headed by him to approve of the two protocols signed between Yerevan and Ankara last year.
Armen Rustamian told a press conference in Yerevan on Thursday that “as things stand now” the foreign relations committee dominated by pro-government lawmakers, including representatives of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party, is likely to provide a positive conclusion on the protocols. Rustamian, though, contended that his arguments as well as those of another opposition party’s committee member “cannot fail to have some impact on the discussion.”
Last week President Sarkisian formally submitted the two protocols on normalizing Armenia-Turkey relations signed in Switzerland last October for parliamentary ratification. The preliminary discussion in the foreign relations committee on the package of documents regarding the establishment of diplomatic ties and developing bilateral relations between the two estranged neighbors is scheduled for Friday. The committee is due to decide on the procedure and format of protocols-related discussions in the Armenian legislature.
“This is a matter of crucial importance, and therefore the sessions could last for several days,” said Rustamian, adding that after the completion of preliminary discussions a separate meeting will be appointed for the committee to reach its conclusion.
The senior Dashnak member also criticized the statement made by President Sarkisian in London that he, as the leader of the parliamentary majority, guaranteed that the ratification of the protocols won’t fail in the Armenian legislature. In Rustamian’s view, this statement is “an instruction to the political majority.”
“I think this does not contribute to the strengthening of our country’s prestige,” said Rustamian. “What does it mean guaranteeing processes in the legislature? Especially that the president himself is ex-officio the guarantor of constitutional order.”
Speaking at a leading British think-tank in London last week, President Sarkisian also implied that Armenia expected Turkey to ratify the protocols first.
But judging by the recent statements made by some senior members of Sarkisian’s political party, Rustamian concluded that the government “lacks a concept in this matter” and only makes “situational steps.”