Ժառանգություն կուսակության առաջնորդ Րաֆֆի Հովհաննիսյանի ուղերձը Ասիական քաղաքական կուսակցությունների միջազգային համաժողովի (ԱՔԿՄՀ) իններորդ Գլխավոր վեհաժողովին, Կուալա Լումպուր, 1-4 սեպտեմբերի 2016 (անգլերեն):

 

Statement of

RAFFI K. HOVANNISIAN
Leader, Heritage Party, and First Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia
9th General Assembly of The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 September 2016

Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:

This august gathering brings together representatives of numerous fellow nations at a time of great importance for the Armenian nation and its Heritage Party.

At the confluence of Asian and European traditions and values and as a bridge between the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Middle East, the Republic of Armenia celebrates the 25th anniversary of its reborn statehood this month.

We are proud of our accomplishments, but much more waits to be achieved--a true democracy, civil rights, the rule of law, and fair elections are areas in which Armenia must improve its track record of its first quarter-century of renewed independence.

Poverty, inequality, and emigration must be curtailed. Economic policy should benefit the average citizen, and government spending should be done responsibly. For good governance, the leadership of the country and business interests must be distinct and without overlap. Peace and stability always are based on basic individual freedoms and vital collective interests. Clearly, we can and must do better.

The Heritage Party, founded in 2002, is a national liberal party and one of the leading forces of the opposition. With branches throughout the country and a parliamentary faction, it advocates a social-oriented market economy, public accountability of the ruling regime, and full democracy and real sovereignty for the Republic. It demands more in these spheres from the administration.

The Heritage Party expects the same from all partners and particularly from Armenia’s neighbors. It behooves all neighbors to pursue amicable relations with one another, to open closed borders, and to recognize the self-determination and popular sovereignty of new nations in their midst, as has been done in the case of Bangladesh and East Timur in Asia, South Sudan in Africa, and Kossovo in Europe.

It is highly desirable that the sister Caucasian republic of Azerbaijan and the international community come to acknowledge that the Mountainous Karabagh (Artsakh) Republic, which marks its 25th anniversary today, is a duly-constituted state under the Montevideo Convention. Rather than launching a failed war of aggression against it, the Baku government, together with the Yerevan government, should lead the way in recognizing the sovereignty of that state. Repeated polemics about foreign occupation is not only unhelpful but wholly unfounded, as it disguises the truth. Upon recognition, of course, refugees between Azerbaijan and Mountainous Karabagh, and Azerbaijan and Armenia, must have the reciprocal right of return to their places of origin and secure guarantees for that return. It is incumbant on the leadership of the Caucasian republics to display mutual respect and seek lasting peace for the sake of all inhabitants of the region. The normalization of relations with all neighbors is a priorty.

In this connection, recalling the Baku assembly of ICAPP and this applies generally, it is essential that ICAPP not be swayed by misinformation, that it maintain its neutrality, and that it represent every member-party of every member-state equally and impartially.

It is desirable that the Republic of Turkey, too, help to make conciliation possible. Despite the growing number of civil-society and political voices in Turkey supporting the historical record, official Ankara still has not recognized or made restitution for the Armenian Genocide and great dispossession of the Armenian people, the centenary of which was commemorated worldwide in 2015. Although Armenia favors the establishment of diplomatic relations without the positing of political preconditions, continued conditionalities and denial by the Turkish authorities need to be replaced by an honest facing of history, including acceptance, apology, education, restoration of cultural heritage, and the right of secure return of all Armenian descendants to their national hearth.

The Islamic Republic of Iran remains Armenia's important strategic partner, and political and economic relations continue to flourish. The fact that Armenia is a Christian country underscores the fact that religion need not be and should not be a principal factor in bilateral and international relations. The Islamic Republic of Iran has set an exemplary productive course.

Relations are generally cordial with the Republic of Georgia, and there are indications that they will strengthen further, while at the same time it is expected that Georgia will move in contemporary fashion to protect the identity and cultural-ethnic rights of the significant Armenian minority in the country.

Finally, Armenia must pursue a more balanced, horizontal, and sovereign policy vis-a-vis the Russian Federation, an official ally which has been granted by Armenia's rulers many of the Republic's strategic assets. The same standard applies to Armenia’s relations with the United States, Europe, China, Japan, India, and many of the Asian and Middle Eastern states represented at this important gathering--all of them crucial contributors to Armenian security and prosperity.

The Republic of Armenia and the Heritage Party welcome this Ninth General Assembly of ICAPP and wish the delegates from all countries fruitful deliberations and constructive conclusions. We also express our gratitude to the government of Malaysia and the city of Kuala Lumpur for these kind arrangements and generous hospitality.