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Markarian Discusses Custom' Union, Hovhanessian Ambassadorship

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  • Markarian Discusses Custom' Union, Hovhanessian Ambassadorship

    Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
    Hrant Markarian

    >From The Armenian Weekly

    In a recent interview on the "Yerkrin Hartse" television program in
    Armenia, Hrant Markarian, the chairperson of the Armenian Revolutionary
    Federation (ARF) Bureau, presented the ARF's stance on various issues
    concerning the Armenian Republic today.

    Since Sept. 3, he said, when Armenia decided to join the Russian-led
    Custom's Union, most of the discussions and debates in the country
    have revolved around this issue. The public reaction against the
    move has been strong, since it was seen as an unexpected and unusual
    declaration by the government.

    It is not a secret, Markarian explained, that our defense structure is
    based on a Russian system. This is why changing it will require a lot
    of time. This problem is independent of our will, he said. However,
    if we take into consideration that the main problem in Armenia is that
    of energy, we can easily see which possibility or option is in our
    best interest. Thus, our position is not driven by our desire; we must
    take into consideration what is possible. If we are to consider this
    issue from a sentimental perspective, and ignore the fact that we are
    still in a war, or ignore the geographical location of Armenia and the
    features of our defense system, it would be easy to choose Europe over
    Russia. But addressing this problem from such a viewpoint is wrong.

    The primary concern for us is not the sentimental aspect of the
    problem, but rather the responsibility with which we should deal
    with it. Yet, he went on, the shortcoming of this decision was the
    fact that the Armenian authorities did not create possibilities for
    establishing a unified government position on this issue, which is
    why the public and the other political parties were all surprised.

    Regarding the negotiations with the European Union, Markarian stated
    that the whole process was not useless. Adopting European values
    and making our country conform to them is the main goal that we
    should pursue, he said. In other words, we must seek European values
    without necessarily joining the European Union. We believe in the
    right of the people to choose their representatives, he explained,
    and therefore we do not need the intervention of the Europeans in
    establishing democracy in Armenia. By not refusing Europe completely
    on the one hand, and choosing the Russian direction on the other,
    we have brought relief to our people, soldiers, and army, he said.

    Markarian also talked about Armenian foreign policy and explained that
    while the ARF's problem with the Armenian authorities is internal,
    it shouldn't come at the expense of Karabagh, or the right of
    future generations, or the campaign for genocide recognition. That
    which strengthens our state and economy must not be a victim in this
    internal conflict, he underscored. Regarding ARF Bureau member Vahan
    Hovhannesian's ambassadorship, Markarian made it clear that it does not
    mean the ARF is sympathetic to the foreign policy of Armenia; rather,
    Hovhannesian was the best candidate they had. Markarian believes that
    this is a positive if rare move on the part of the authorities, for the
    ARF, and for Hovhannesian himself. He made it clear that Hovhanessian
    is the kind of political figure who would resign immediately if he
    were made to work against his principles and beliefs.

    Markarian stated that Hovhannesian will be sent to Germany, and
    that he is looking forward to the strengthening of Armenian-German
    relations, especially before the centenary of the Armenian Genocide,
    which would counter-balance the Turkish lobby there. The Armenian
    authorities assigned a political mission to Hovhannesian, he said.

    He concluded by emphasizing that just because the ARF opposes the
    current president of Armenia, it does not prevent the party from
    accepting offers that would benefit the Republic in general. The
    ARF clearly differentiates where the homeland begins and where the
    government does, and where statehood and homeland end, he said.