YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A fact-finding mission of the Council of Europe arrived in Armenia late Monday to assess the country’s progress in meeting requiremen’s necessary for full membership in the influential human rights organization. The delegation is scheduled to meet top government officials and leaders of the main political parties.
On Tuesday–the Council officials held a meeting with ousted president Levon Ter-Petrosyan–who encouraged Armenia’s membership in the council–the head of the delegation–DemetrioVolcic–told reporters.
Council officials also met with Armenian journalists to inquire about the situation with freedom of speech. Volcic said Armenia’s full membership hinges on the democratization of its political system and progress in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
He said the delegation will present its findings in a report to the Council’s Parliamentary Assembly.
Armenia and the two other Caucasus states were given special guest status in 1996. Georgia was the first among them to effectively become a full member last week.