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October 5, 2005

ACNIS Turns Eleven: Raffi Hovannisian’s
Public Address

Yerevan—Today the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) celebrated its 11th anniversary of public service, creative inspiration, and analytical research. On the occasion and in the presence of professional staff and media representatives, ACNIS founder and Heritage Party chairman Raffi K. Hovannisian delivered his annual address.

Underscoring the most serious challenges for Armenia in the new era, Raffi Hovannisian pinpointed the adverse phenomena still plaguing Armenian domestic and foreign policy, and in particular the perils of endemic corruption, the rule of caprice and lawlessness, growing poverty, and the predictable consequence of emigration. “In this quickly-changing world, when the governed expect of their leaders a flexible mind, a consensus-building capacity, and a profound worldview, we simply do not have the right to entrust our nation’s destiny to those who have appropriated its foreign policy in the same way as they have done with the country’s economy, turning one and the other into a shadow structure driven by personal gain.” According to Hovannisian, this mode of operation has made a mockery of the national interest, has alienated the country’s citizens from their authorities, and has weakened the foundations of our once-national solidarity. From the standard-bearer of democracy and liberty in the region, Armenia is now retreating to the backwaters of cynical authoritarian dominion.

A striking reflection of the public’s shaken trust toward its governors, Raffi Hovannisian continued, is the current package of constitutional amendments which is likewise being used by the powers that be for cheap propaganda purposes. “These proffered improvements will remain a mere word game as long as the most basic and universal precept—the separation of executive, legislative, and judicial authority—has not become a reality.” And this, in Hovannisian’s words, can be secured only by an administration that has received a broad public mandate through free and fair elections. Until that day comes to pass, the constitutional changes will simply be reminiscent of an unsuccessful attempt quickly to hide the cracks of an old and run-down building by means of “European-style remodeling.”

The wide-ranging speech of Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs focused also on major flaws in diplomacy and external policy which have resulted from the situational activity of hypocritical officials who have little in common with national interests, guiding principles, and public confidence. Raffi Hovannisian scored the myopic and reactive nature of the Armenian presidency not only in terms of the watershed divide in the Armenia-Turkey relationship, but also in the context of European Union integration. “It is foreseeable that in its best-case scenario Turkey can only become an EU member in synchronization with Armenia, and in the process it will have to undergo serious and irreversible reforms, confront its history, reject any imperial ambitions, and so forge a comprehensive resolution of all outstanding matters with Armenia.” Pursuant to the precedents set by a number of civilized countries, Hovannisian sounded the imperative to work for the historic opportunity to turn enmity into partnership.

The extensive work of quality carried out by ACNIS in the past eleven years demonstrates that, odds notwithstanding, Armenia is capable of claiming its place of desert and dignity among the family of nations, provided of course that it rediscovers itself as a civilizational contributor to the world and strives to unite the tremendous political, economic, cultural, and intellectual potential of all Armenians across the globe. Finally becoming a real Homeland for the entire Armenian nation, Raffi Hovannisian concluded, is the best way for Armenia to overcome the complex impasse it currently faces.


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 2005, the Center focuses primarily on civic education, conflict resolution, and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center and its activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am

 
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The Armenian version of the press release:

Armenian version


Raffi Hovannisian’s Public Address




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