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STRASBOURG, APRIL 29. ARMINFO. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has given Armenia 5 months to resolve the domestic political situation in the country. It should be noted that late in the evening yesterday, a session of PACE dedicated to the domestic political situation in Armenia was completed.

The initial version of PACE’s decision submitted to the PACE Monitoring Committee set a term to Armenia by June, 2004, to secure free rallies and actions, freedom of speech, including the possiblity of returning air to A1+ TV company, release of all the arrested oppositionists etc.. However, the session prolonged this term by September and decided to discuss the situation in Armenia at the June session to determine whether PACE’s demands are fulfilled of not. By September, the Armenian leadership is to report to PACE on the measures taken to fulfill the demands. Otherwise, in September, PACE reserves a right to review the powers of the Armenian parliamentary delegation in conformity with the point 9 of its Regulations.

The opposition was represented at the session by Shavarsh Kocharyan and Artashes Geghamyan, the ruling coalition by Armen Rustamyan and Parliamentary Vice Speaker Tigran Torossyan. The main “stumbling-block” was the issue of a referendum of confidence to the authorities, the legality and legitimacy of the results of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2003. As a result, PACE supported the oposition of the political coalition, did not mention in the decision that the violations in the course of the election influenced their results. As the European MPs could not determine whether the resolution of the Constitutional Court of Armenia dated April 16 on holding of the referendum was a decision or a proposal, PACE supported the political coalition in the final decision on Armenia. Commenting on PACE’s decision, Vice Speaker Torossyan said that the decision showed that Armenia should not turn to look at the CE and expect instruction from Strasbourg every moment, it should take some measures independently.

Both pro-governmental and opposition parts of the Armenian delegation actively worked to persuade PACE delegates giving them various documents to sign. The only member of the Armenian parliamentary delegation who did not sign any documents was Head of the “National Deputy” deputy group Karen Karapetyan, pointing out that he has always been for a dialogue and is engaged exclusively in an explanatory work among PACE delegations in Strasbourg.

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