STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT SERZH SARGSYAN AT THE 12TH CONVENTION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF ARMENIA

president.am
Nov 30 2009
Armenia

Dear Party members, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It was exactly two years ago when speaking at the 11th Convention
of the Republican Party, I acknowledged the most serious challenges
and problems which the world was infused with at that time, and the
measures that in my opinion our country had to take to meet those
challenges to make Armenia a modern, democratic, and competitive state.

These challenges and problems are well known to all, and many of them
have not lost their intensity even today. However, the last two years
witnessed changes, which in addition to the already existing ones
brought about new problems.

Certainly, first of all I mean the severe global economic and financial
crisis. Not a single country was able to avoid the negative impact of
the crisis. In our country, the economic decline reached 18 per cent,
something that had not be anticipated in any of our programs. However,
even in those circumstances we have been able to evade similar negative
developments in the social area. Our citizens felt the impact of the
crisis on their lives in a lesser degree than could have been expected
judging from the macroeconomic indices.

Salutations to all our entrepreneurs, major companies which accepted
our appeal and cooperated with the government, acting sometimes
contrary to the instincts of the classical business. Together we have
been able to steer clear of much more undesirable developments. Today,
we entered the stage when negative developments are slowly but
steadfastly are being reversed. We must be able not only expeditiously
overcome the consequences of the crisis but emerge with a new,
qualitatively different economic reality and structure.

Events of August 2008 in South Ossetia also had a significant impact on
Armenia, as well as on the countries of our region. The war revealed
the vulnerability and fragility of peace and stability in the region;
moreover, it made even more apparent the necessity to settle the
existing conflicts.

Among our internal problems I cannot but mention the events that
followed the presidential elections. Those were unacceptable and
extremely dangerous developments.

The most terrible thing, however, was the divide that appeared within
our nation. Those were difficult times for all of us. Today, we can
say that together we were able not to deepen that divide further,
and halted at the chasm's edge.

We can be content with that, but we cannot relax and pretend that
everything is fine, by no means. What is ahead demands the utmost
flexibility, skills, knowledge and will power, because our most
important task is to unify the society, make it one united force
as tight as a fist, and to shape a culture of dialogue, tolerance,
and ability to listen.

The events that followed the presidential elections exposed the
intrinsic weakness and immaturity of the state, political, and social
institutions established during the years of independence.

The immaturity of the electoral system, political parties, institutions
of civil society, mass media, of the freedom of assembly and other
liberties, which allow the rise of evil and intolerance, result in
social and political predicaments. Had the social institutions been
more developed, had the political forces been more responsible, had
the law enforcement bodies been more professional and well-equipped,
it would be possible to thwart those events and emerge with dignity
from the vortex of unleashed provocations.

I am confident that this is the greatest lesson learned from those
events and the main challenge in our internal life. Thus, it becomes
clear that efficient steps aimed at the further development and
completion of all state, political, economic, and social institutions
are essential.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Republican Party of Armenia
in the coming years can and must assume the role of the promoter of
political, social, and economic progress.

Past achievements, political experience, human resources and
professional potential of the PPA proved that this Party is the
leading political force in our country and that that status should
be preserved in the near future.

Together with the coalition partners, the Republican Party of Armenia
has assumed responsibility to serve our people and our country.

Considering all the complex processes that are going on in the world
and, particularly, in our region we can state that it is historic
responsibility.

We have assumed responsibilities to serve our people willingly. Until
now, we have not made a single step that would disagree with our
promises or programs. We have been implementing them step-by-step in
both foreign and internal policies. Of course, not everything goes
smoothly, but we have never been so naïve as to believe that it
is easy to do good and big things. There are objective difficulties
and inner resistance or inertia, however there are also subjective
factors. But we have displayed political will and persistence in
concluding the initiated programs with success. This will continue
to be our work mode.

I would like to mention with satisfaction that the PPA has been
persistent also in its further evolution. The process of reassessment
within the party continues, the party is constantly purifying and
strengthening. Regional, territorial and grassroots organizations
are multiplying and developing, the number of horizontal counseling
bodies, such as program oriented councils and those engaged in
professional partisan works, grow. We are a political force that is
far from changing its opinion or position every week, which is not an
uncommon fashion. Our "yes" means "yes", and "no" means "no". We are
a predictable and dependable force, which our partners and supporters
can rely on and build projects with. Everyone should know that hopes
and programs related to the Republican Party can be both short-term,
as well as long-term and strategic. The entire history of the Party,
since its inception until now, provides all necessary proof. We are
steadfast in achieving our goals, but we are also able to listen and
reckon with the proposals and criticism. We are steadfast but also
flexible. Flexibility and alertness in our complicated times and in
our complicated region are truly important. Today, we conduct our
activities as a party of the 21st century. Today, there are almost no
issues that would be interesting only for us. All significant issues
we are concerned with positioned within the context of global concern.

It is necessary to know well that context. A stroke of brush is
precise only in the context of the entire picture. In this area not
only the Republican Party but also our society as a whole has things
to do. Only a modern society can shape a modern party, and vice versa -
a modern party can facilitate modernization of the society.

Dear members of the Party,

It is true that in the last two year we have witnessed vigorous
geopolitical changes, economic relapse, and upheavals in social life.

And today we have reached a point when

Armenia is not a helpless boat that rocks on the waves of global
tempest, but makes her own dignified way forward,

Political processes have mostly returned to political realm where
they belong,

The unprecedented decline brought about by the global economic and
financial crisis that shook the world is subsiding.

I state it, certainly, with satisfaction; this is the outcome of hard
and principled work.

However, it's not the situation we wanted to be in. Of course not. We
have only been able to shape the environment conducive to and necessary
for the implementation of the announced objectives, we have been able
to resist strong negative impulses and developments, and we have
been able to make the most important first steps toward reaching
these objectives. And today we have all necessary prerequisites
to concentrate only on the objectives of growth. Today, we have
all necessary prerequisites for action, for making change and being
changed, always keeping in mind that every successive day Armenia must
become a better place than she was yesterday. The time has come to
freely change and unavoidably be changed. The place of the Republican
Party in Armenia's life, its role and the example it presents are
really significant. And the changes, which we will register within
the party, will be easily adopted and accepted throughout our society.

It's a fact. Thus, as the ruling party, the Republican Party is
obligated to view its partisan changes in a larger context, attaching
to them the utmost importance.

Today, the Republican Party is a serious and maturing political force,
which shapes and spreads traditions. With this regard the development
of democratic institutions within the Party is and will continue to
be an important factor for the development of democracy in the country.

It is obvious, that the more democratic principles are involved in
the decision making within the Party, the sooner the society will
follow suit of the ruling party.

The Republican Party is not the party of the leader. The Party is
not Serzh Sargsyan, Serzh Sargsyan is just a Republican. I can state
with confidence that this is an important impulse for the country's
development. This is an important signal for today's as well as
tomorrow's leaders, for comprehending one's role within the ruling
elite. Even if today it is not acknowledged as such, tomorrow it
inevitably will be.

It is said that if you want to change something, start with yourself.

The Republican Party should change from just a political leader to
a social and political leader. To forge country forward and up, the
leading force should be exemplary. If the first generation of the
Republicans faced the task of preventing other political movements
from diverging the Party's values and changing the country's course
of development, the current generation of the Republicans faces other
challenges - to eliminate inconsistency that is sometimes present
between the words and the deeds. Hence, the Party should become
the model of the Armenia we want to build. The reputation of such a
party is unquestionable, its power - unshakable, and its victory is
a positively changing Armenia.

It is quite natural that dangerous developments in any area are being
eradicated and can be eradicated by the authorities. Fight against
poverty, corruption, and other challenges facing our state first
and foremost mean the fight of the leading party against them. Only
a strong party can handle such a fight. You know that I have been
presenting all important decisions and projects first of all for the
Party discussions. Being a staunch believer in a work style which
allows taking into consideration a wide range of opinions and acting
on that premise, I have always been presenting crucial issues such as
the anti-crisis measures or the Armenian-Turkish protocols for the
Party debates. Frankly, these are usually the most difficult tests
for all the initiatives. And this is the right way to act, because
accountability within the party is not for unequivocal justification
of the activities of the parties represented in the executive brunch
but for the prevention of any mistakes.

Because,

The Party belongs not only to its current members, it belongs to
the future.

The Party is not for the present only, and we are not its members
only today.

The Republican Party is basically is a pillar of the reinstated
Armenian statehood. And the stronger that pillar is, the stronger our
statehood will be. The more modern the Party is, the more advanced
the society will be.

The time has come to enforce modern political culture.

With this regard, political progress can be achieved only if within
each political party a vast array of its members, including those
who have different views on some issues, perceive themselves as equal
members of the party, i.e. participate equally in the decision-making
and feel equally responsible for their implementation. If on the
party level this issues are not solved, if within the party each and
every internal opposition is suppressed, which we have witnessed in
our political field, then once that party assumed the leadership of
the country, it will suppress any opposition. The Republican Party
of Armenia is not and will not be doing it, and it is proved by the
heated debates we are having during the discussions.

To establish a stable political system in Armenia it is necessary
first of all to have a stable intra-party system. And the leading
party should become the pioneer, showing the way by its own example.

Dear Friends,

The pace of events nowadays has visibly accelerated. Our region and
our country do not any longer wait in the wings of global politics,
but have come forward, while our state and our people find themselves
in the epicenter of events. The time has come in dealing with
challenges to make quick decisions. Is there a guarantee that the
smartest, strongest, most reliable, and the most united leadership
will not err in making decisions to meet these challenges? Or after
making mistakes will realize it on time, will accept and will try
to redress them, because mistakes are unavoidable? As recently as
yesterday to make no mistakes was a synonym of doing nothing. Today,
however, doing nothing means to make mistakes. And, unfortunately,
many are holding their breath to see that mistake happen. It means
that we should act being at the same time alert of the possibility of
making a mistake. Be assured that our people will forgive mistakes,
but will not forgive doing nothing. There is no recipe for staying
clear from mistakes. However, there is a chance to avoid them. It is,
first of all, flexibility in making decisions and in changing them.

New situations require new solutions and bring forward new logic for
their resolution. A hostage to yesterday's solutions moves along a
direct and predictable line. Political flexibility is possible only
when one relinquishes the ambition of being the only smart and the only
sensible. The smartest man can have a good idea once a day. The wise
will listen to a thousand of smart and start working with a hundred
of good ideas. We should be able to listen to each other and the
others. The others may be smart, but one who leads the country must
be also wise, to be flexible. If the opponent says something and it
is a better and a more convincing idea, I have to realize his idea
and not yours only because it happens to be yours. The Republican
should continue to evolve to become a more flexible party, a party
that is able to listen - to listen and make choices. To be a ruling
party means to make choices, otherwise the best solutions will give
way to simply good solutions. In a rapidly changing world to resist
external challenges our country must first of all have a stable
internal structure. What does it mean to be stable and what is our
idea of political stability? Very often political opponents misuse
the stability argument. Political stability doesn't mean rigid ideas,
stagnant ideology, or indisputable authority. Our comprehension of
political stability assumes freedom of thought. The factor of stability
limits the format, not the content; it urges to build and create,
not to keep silent. It will be possible, if in the political field
the Republican Party assumes the pioneering role in strengthening
the culture of a genuine dialogue. Heated debates shouldn't be
underestimated, however we will secure political stability of our
country by choosing the road of political dialogue.

One can be tough toward the ideas but not toward those who express
them. This must be done and we will do it first, we will uphold that
principle. In establishing the culture of political dialogue in the
country the foremost responsibility and opportunity lies with the
ruling party. Let's assume that responsibility with honor. Let's
create an exemplary model of the modern ruling party, which will
serve the model also in the future.

Dear Fellow Republicans,

During the two years that passed since the last Party convention,
the RPA through the established leadership has been able to prove
that it can effectively solve the most complex problems facing the
country. We proved with our work that when there is a will and resolve,
headway could be achieved on any issue, even on the most painful one.

It is attested by our initiative to establish normal interstate
relations with Turkey without preconditions and the developments
that ensued. Today, when the Armenian-Turkish protocols have been
initialed, it can be stated with confidence that even though right
now we are at the very beginning of the process and the Protocols are
yet to be ratified and implemented, we, indisputably, have been able
to break the ice and make significant progress in our relations with
Turkey. It will undoubtedly contribute to the political and economic
development of our two countries, to the regional cooperation;
it will strengthen peace and stability in the region. Now we have
reached the stage when the Parliaments of our two countries are to
ratify the Protocols. This is a process that will provide a mirror
image of the parties' seriousness, credibility of their word, and
sense of responsibility. Armenia is a country which honors and duly
fulfills her international obligations. I hope Turkey is guided by the
same principle. I would like to mention the principle of "sensible
timeframe" which is employed here. If Turkey protracts the process
of ratification, Armenia, as I have already said, will take without
delay corresponding steps envisaged by international law. At the same
time, I reiterate that Armenia is ready to carry on with the initiated
process. I would like to inform that I have already appealed to the
Constitutional Court to decide on the validity of the obligations
referred to in the Armenian-Turkish Protocols from the viewpoint of
the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia. And once again I want the
world to know that the signing of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols and
the establishment of relations with Turkey does not mean to abandon
or forget the Armenian Genocide. On the contrary, I am confident
that through the establishment of relations with Turkey, interaction
with the Turkish public it will be possible to expedite the process
of recognition in Turkey and all over the world. Harboring quite
legitimate concerns regarding possible scenarios for the development
of the Armenia-Turkey relations, we however, should not be afraid
to have relations with that country, we shouldn't dismay because of
the difficulties, shouldn't back off from taking bold steps. On the
contrary, we should continue steadfastly, to get to the realization
of our national and state goals through the well-calculated and wise
steps. I agree that before we haven't had the political culture and
diplomatic experience of relating with Turkey as two equals. I agree
that Turkey is a powerful state, with a singular diplomatic demeanor.

I, certainly, agree with all these observations. However, I
categorically disagree with the conclusion that some draw based on
these observations that it is necessary to stay clear from the Turks,
because they can be deceitful. It is an erroneous conclusion. Yes,
we don't have experience of interacting with the Turks, but it must
be started one day, must it not? And let me assure you - we learn
fast...And today we are not what we were one year ago. The same
goes for the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and for our
relations with Azerbaijan. Armenia favors peaceful resolution of the
NK conflict, through peace negotiations, however we will not allow any
encroachment against Nagorno Karabakh and any such attempt will be
countered with the toughest measures. In the NK conflict settlement
the principles stated by the Armenian authorities remain unchanged
and are enshrined in the programs of the Republican Party and the
President of Armenia. We are guided by these basic principles. We
conduct negotiations based on these principles. Any reasonable person
understands that a conflict settlement is a very convoluted process,
and it may take years to get to the final solution. However, today's
situation with the conflict resolution inspires hope that we may be
able to get to its logical conclusion in a reasonable period of time.

In our relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan we will place above all our
national and state interests and we will be resolute in finishing the
job. Indisputably, conflicts get a long-lasting and durable solution
only when they are based on just and reasonable compromises.

The time of colonizing people, who live on their own land, has passed.

We have stated loud and clear that the NK conflict resolution must
be anchored on the collective will of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.

Only in that case the solution will be durable, realistic, and
peaceful. Treaty among all the parties to the NK conflict must enclose
in one package solutions to all problems as well as international
mechanisms which will guarantee the implementation of these solutions.

Dear Fellow Republicans,

After the parliamentary and presidential elections, the Republican
Party of Armenia reached principal position, which allowed to attain
majority in the legislative and executive branches, and along with
the coalition partners assumed full responsibility of governing the
country. This fact played a crucial role in preserving internal
stability, conducting efficient economic policy under the global
economic and financial crisis, initiating effective steps in foreign
policy, and moving forward on other directions. Moreover, the results
of the elections to the local governance bodies and to the Yerevan
Municipal Council testified to the public's growing trust toward our
Party. The Republican Party not only continues to get most votes in
different elections but also works seriously to improve the entire
electoral process. It is no coincidence that at the Yerevan Municipal
Council elections the international and local organizations for the
first time registered serious positive changes in such parts of the
electoral process, which in the past were mostly criticized. Before
next parliamentary and presidential elections, the Republican Party
along with its coalition partners should double its efforts to firmly
implement all our programs. We cannot delay and should successfully
continue the process of reformation.

I would like to mention that in recent months the macroeconomic
developments and strong tendencies toward the stabilization of the
economy permit us to make more confident forecast regarding the
prospects of the country's economic development in 2010. It also
allows to review some indices in the draft budget for 2010, providing
for the increase of the state budget in both funding and spending.

Already today it can be stated with confidence that in its spending
part the budget 2010 will exceed factual spending for 2009.

Furthermore, the 2010 budget will exceed the 2009 budget. We have had
the opportunity to get favorable loans from the European Union, which
will allow in the future to augment the 2010 budget with another 60
billion AMD and increase spending. As a result, next year the spending
part of the state budget will come close to 1 trillion AMD. I would
like to stress that all the talks that the Republic of Armenia has
a huge state debt are only for those, who are not well familiar with
the economic policy and are aimed at terrifying our people. The very
notion of "debt" exists just for this kind of situations. Had we
had plenty of money, we wouldn't borrow. Besides, money is lended
to those who have good credit. When our state is given charity, we
receive grants and not loans. And if we are lended money, it means
we have established good credit. Better times will come, our budget
will grow, our GDP will grow, and we will bounce back. In the budget
to be presented to the National Assembly we will definitely be able to
increase spending in the important areas such as economic development
and export facilitation, development of agricultural infrastructure,
education and defense, assistance to the NKR, and others.

Active steps aimed at the increasing the country's international
competitiveness, particularly, reforms in tax and customs
administration, creation of equal opportunities for all, equal
territorial development, reformation of the pension system, and overall
efforts directed at the modernization of the country will continue. And
this is one of the most serious challenges facing not only me as the
President or us, as the Republican Party and coalition partners, but
all of us - our entire society and nation. Regardless of political
and economic upheavals, regardless of the outcome of the elections,
regardless of the international and regional situation we shouldn't
forget that we have to do all which is possible and impossible so that
next generations inherit a much more developed, much more prosperous
and developed country. I am confident that we are able to pass this
historic test with the understanding that development and prosperity
of our state depends exclusively on our people.

Hence, let's repeat what we have stated long ago.

Each new day Armenia must be better than day before. This reasoning
must guide us all - reasoning of a better Armenia, prosperous Armenia,
and strong Armenia. The Armenia, where everyone can realize his or
her potential rather than in the search of a better life leave the
country; where everyone has a job and decent pay; where every child
can get a good education, and every elderly - a pension that can
provide a dignified living. A better Armenia for every citizen of
the Republic of Armenia. A better Armenia for the children, workers,
those who want to work, farmers, artists, people with initiatives,
defenders of the motherland, elderly, disabled. A better Armenia
for the sons and daughters of our nation who live in foreign land,
a better Armenia for coming back home. A better Armenia for the
fulfillment of the entire nation's dreams.

Let's role up our sleeves, For you, Armenia, Armenia, Forge Ahead!

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress