YEREVAN (YERKIR)–The Armenian Revolutionary Federation became a full-fledged member of Socialist International (SI) on October 29–becoming the sole political party in the Commonwealth of Independent States with membership. The SI’s 22nd Congress held in San Paolo–Brazil October 27-29 granted the status to the ARF.
Addressing the October 29 session of the Congress–"Regional Integration: The New Architecture," ARF Bureau member and ARF’s representative to the SI Mario Nalbandian–thanked the two Brazilian political parties hosting the Congress–and conveyed that ARF history has been made with its entrance into the body.
Talking about regional issues–specifically the South Caucasus–Nalbandian noted that there are unresolved territorial issues and a lack of integration in the region.
Referring to the 1991 Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) Agreement between Argentina–Brazil–Paraguay and Uruguay–Nalbandian said that it could serve as an example in establishing regional cooperation. Emerging from bloody dictatorships–the participating countries revisited their histories to pinpoint mistakes and correct them; they united for a common goal–and gained positive results.
Although the countries of the South Caucasus do share the common experience of a Soviet dictatorship–noted Nalbandian–the region is not limited to that experience.
Neighboring Turkey–having perpetrated the first genocide of the Twentieth century–the Armenian Genocide–has not taken steps to correct it–said the ARF Bureau representative–conveying hope that international public opinion–including the SI’s–would contribute to resolution.
"The South Caucasus can and should become the link between the North and the South; the East and the West," Nalbandian said. "The South Caucasus–however–is not a unit; it is composed of three countries with different levels of democracy. Armenia–with a more progressive democracy in place–should not be placed in the same category as the others," he stressed.
Nalbandian urged the SI–with its experience and political image–to become more active in the region to help establish regional integration.
Led by ARF Bureau representative Hrant Margarian–the official ARF delegation at SI’s Congress included ARF Bureau member and ARF’s representative to SI Mario Nalbandian–ARF’s representative to SI’s Women Organization Maria Titizian–and ARF South America representatives Simon Kerimian and Onik Ramjian.
Founded in 1951–the present Socialist International is the successor to the Socialist International established in the late Nineteenth Century–to which the ARF became a member in 1907. In 1960s–ARF’s membership in the SI was terminated because of changes in SI’s regulations. At SI’s 1996 Congress in New York–the ARF joined the new SI as an observer. The decision to grant the ARF full membership was made in the SI Council’s meeting in Casablanca in June 2002. The decision was reinstated by the 22nd Congress in San Paolo.
The Socialist International presently includes 150 socialist–social democratic–and labor parties from throughout 100 countries. Fifty-two of these parties actively participate in their respective governmen’s.