ITAR-TASS, Russia
Jan 1 2008

Armenian President stresses importance of Feb 19 election

01.01.2008, 15.42


YEREVAN, January 1 (Itar-Tass) - Presidential election scheduled for
February 19 will become a guarantee of stability over the next five
years if it is held at a proper level, Armenia's President Robert
Kocharian said in a New Year televised address to the nation.

`There is no sense to speak about successes without stability,' he
said, adding that he believes in Armenia's prosperous future and in
the potential of its people.

The said the past year was one of the `most successful years' in the
country's recent history.

`The authorities focused on the strengthening of security, the
economy, the social sphere and democracy,' Kocharian said. `Economy
continued growing at a fair rate, too.'

`This made it possible for us to earmark more finance for the
solution of social problems, the main of which is the elimination of
poverty,' he went on saying.

`The combat capability of our Armed Forces and their ability to
defend our citizens' peaceful life continued increasing,' Kocharian
said.

Armenia gained more international prestige and its integration in
international associations increased as well, he said. `The May
parliamentary election showed maturity of Armenian society and its
encouraging attitude towards reforms we're implementing'.

`All these achievements provide a guarantee that the year 2008 will
also be a success,' Kocharian said, warning however that `much
everyday work is needed to overpower the existing challenges.'

In the first place, this concerns the standards of living. `Our
people deserve a continued improvement of life,' he said. `Our
country and its citizenship must be a subject of pride for every
person of Armenian nationality.'

`Also, we must redouble efforts in helping our brothers in Nagorny
Karabakh /a much-troubled enclave of Azerbaijan populated by ethnic
Armenians and seeking state independence - Itar-Tass/ in building an
efficient statehood,' he said.

'A strengthening of the Armed Forces will remain an objective of
primary concern for us, since the country's security is a crucial
element of our progress,' Kocharian said. `We must always remember
all those who gave their lives for our peaceful and dignified
development.'

He urged Armenian communities worldwide to intensify their engagement
in the economic development of their historical homeland, as `this is
the best way towards retaining the Armenian diaspora's ethnic
self-identity.'

This was Kocharian's last New Year address to the nation in the
capacity of president. His second five-year term of office comes to
an end in 2008 and Armenian Constitution says he can't run for
presidency another time.