YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Issues regarding Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe will likely be settled next spring–Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly Armen Khachatrian and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Foreign Relations Committee Hovhannes Hovhannissian told a news conference December 20.
On December 16–the Commission for Political Issues of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved a report made by Raporteur on Armenia Demetrio Volcic. According to the report–Armenia is ready to become a member of the Council of Europe–and the issue has nothing to do with the problem of Nagorno Karabakh. It was noted out that the 1999 parliamentary elections in Armenia were held in accordance with European standards. A positive assessment was also made of the 1999 elections to local government bodies–unlike similar elections held in Azerbaijan. Special emphasis was laid in the report on Armenian President Robert Kocharian’s willingness to sign the documen’s on the settlement of the Karabakh problem by means of peaceful negotiations.
Hovhannissian–who was head of the Armenian delegation at the meeting of the above-mentioned Commission–pointed out that negative opinions were not expressed in relation to Armenia at the meeting–because of work carried out in previous years. "It was not done in a day or by ourselves alone," he said. Hovhannissian also stressed that problems arising from the October 27 killings in parliament were resolved with the walls of the National Assembly and the political framework.
The issue of Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe will also be discussed by the PACE Commission for Legal Affairs and Human Rights on January 10–2000. Late in January–the PACE meeting will specify the list of Armenia’s commitmen’s which will be discussed in Armenia as well.