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U.S. Envoy To Armenia Stands By Democratization Call

U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch
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WATCH: U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch speaks to RFE/RL's Armenia Service about the role of civil society and the need for openness in government.

The U.S. ambassador to Yerevan has repeated her calls for Armenia's democratization, saying that they are in tune with the Armenian Constitution and President Serzh Sarkisian's public statements, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

In an interview with RFE/RL on March 3, Marie Yovanovitch said the rule of law, democratic elections, and civil rights are enshrined in the constitution. "Those are the rights of the Armenian people, as written in your constitution," she said.

The diplomat referred to a December speech in which Sarkisian called for a "consistent introduction of European standards into all areas of our state, public, and economic lives." In that speech, the president warned that Armenia's existing political order could lead to "stagnation" without a "deepening of democracy."

"He is the president of the country, and we certainly agree with that kind of prescription," Yovanovitch said.

U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
Yovanovitch also stood by her view, expressed in a speech at Yerevan State University on February 28, that the monopolization of political authority and economic resources is harmful for the country.

"If you have only one source of ideas, decision-making, resources, inevitably you're going to be stale and stagnant … We think that's true on the economic side, we think it's also true on the political side," she said.

Armenia, continued Yovanovitch, should have a transparent government that is "listening to the people and is accountable to the people."

"We think those governments in countries are really the strongest and make the best partners for the United States," she said.

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