Accessibility links

Breaking News

Politician: Yerevan Not Committed To 'European Values'

Vartan Oskanian
Vartan Oskanian
YEREVAN -- Former Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian has questioned successive governments' commitment to "European values" such as democracy and human rights, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Oskanian said while serving his decade-long term as foreign minister he was increasingly embarrassed having to justify the government's undemocratic practices. He said the lack of a commitment has been the main hindrance to Armenia's democratization and integration into various European bodies.

Oskanian said the government is the "most important thing" on November 11 during a public discussion organized by the Civilitas Foundation, his Yerevan-based think tank.

He said he was in the government and "one of the reasons why I'm not now is that things reached a point where it was difficult to explain the difference between words and actions to the Europeans." Oskanian was foreign minister in the administration of former President Robert Kocharian throughout his 1998-2008 tenure, a period which saw three disputed presidential elections and other political upheavals.

Since leaving office in April 2008, Oskanian has increasingly distanced himself from controversial events of the Kocharian era.

Oskanian said the Council of Europe -- which Armenia joined in 2001 -- and the European Union should be "more consistent" in pressing the authorities in Yerevan to honor their commitments to democracy and human rights.

Oskanian said the Armenian public, for its part, should also exert similar pressure on both the government and the Europeans.