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July 29, 2008

ACNIS Hearing Considers Armenia’s Frontiers Under International Law

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today convened a policy roundtable to examine the matter of Armenia’s right to sovereignty in the territories which, under international law, were allotted to—or reserved for—the modern-day Republic of Armenia. The meeting brought together MPs, leading analysts, policy specialists, public and political figures, NGO representatives, and members of the press.

ACNIS research coordinator Syuzanna Barseghian welcomed the audience with opening remarks. “When considering the urgent problems currently faced by Armenian statehood, the boundary issue of Armenia develops into a crucial matter all the more.  We must view this question in relation to international law,” Barseghian said.

The day’s speaker, Ambassador Ara Papian, director of the Modus Vivendi Social and Scientific Research Center, delivered a thorough public presentation devoted to Armenia’s boundary issue under international law. According to Papian, it is apparent that with its current borders and present-day structure, the Armenian state will be unable to address the challenge of guaranteeing its sovereignty, the security of its citizens, the economic growth of the country, beneficial conditions for its citizenry, and its national identity and cultural development.  Moreover, the nation’s capacity to endure as an independent state will continue to be full of extreme twists and turns. “Armenia’s boundary issues can and must be resolved solely by implementing the relevant adopted decisions and clarified precepts that are founded on international law,” Papian noted.

Ara Papian presented the historical legal documents based on which Armenia can file a petition with international organizations and foreign countries, requiring final and legal definition of its borders. He stated that the matter concerning the boundaries among the countries of the South Caucasus and the borders of Armenia and Turkey was discussed during the 1919-1920 Paris Peace Conference. With its report on the boundaries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, the bases for delimitation were clarified and fixed. In Armenia’s case, this specific basis was the “Report and Proposals of the Commission for the Delimitation of the Boundaries of Armenia,” dated 24 February 1920. And in the case of Armenian and Turkish frontiers, the controlling determination was US President Woodrow Wilson’s mandatory and irreversible “Arbitral Award,” dated 22 November 1920, which went into force the day it was reached and remains in effect to this day. “Not presenting our lawful territorial foundations, which primarily apply in respect of Turkey, will be interpreted as our silent acquiescence in the de facto boundaries and therefore we will be deprived of the right to raise this issue in the years to come,” Papian concluded. He also made an appeal to give ultimate importance to this matter and expressed an optimism that this aspiration will be brought to fruition.

The hearing concluded with an exchange of opinions and policy recommendations among ACNIS director of administration Karapet Kalenchian; analyst Marcel Abrahamian of the Constitutional Court; Giro Manoyan of the Dashnaktsutiun Party; member of parliament Stepan Safarian; analyst Gevorg Hakobian of the Armenian National Assembly; political scientist Edward Antinian; coordinator Mane Hakobian of “The People are Masters of the Country” civic union; Artak Zeinalian of the Republic Party; geography postgraduate Husik Ghulian of Yerevan State University; Daniel Ioannisian of the Nationalist Students’ Council; and several others.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K. Hovannisian and supported by a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2008, the Center focuses primarily on civic education, democratic development, conflict resolution, and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am ; or visit www.acnis.am.


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