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August 31, 2005

Meets with Walesa, Albright, Brzezinski

Warsaw—Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs, represented Armenia at an international conference marking the Solidarity movement’s 25th anniversary, which was held here from August 29 to 31 under the auspices of the Solidarity Center Foundation and the Lech Walesa Insitute.

Entitled “From Solidarnosc to Freedom,” the conclave brought together world leaders, public figures, academicians, activists, and journalists from across the globe. Former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukian also traveled from Yerevan to take part in the proceedings.

In his intervention, Raffi Hovannisian addressed the past achievements of the Solidarity movement and examined its contribution to the transition from Cold War to European unification. He also underscored the imperative of thinking prospectively, taking the lessons of the “Solidarnosc” experience outside the Soviet box, and applying them equally to all modern challenges of democracy, human rights, and national dignity—regardless of the provenance of each such challenge or the sources of threat.

Against the background of contemporary geopolitical developments, Raffi Hovannisian held meetings with Solidarity’s leader and later Polish President Lech Walesa; former US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; and former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In the margins of the conference, Hovannisian also met with President Jose Manuel D. Barroso of the European Commission; President Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland; Polish Parliamentary Speaker Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz; former Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki; current and former Polish Foreign Ministers Adam Rotfeld and Bronislaw Geremek; former Polish Defense Minister Zbigniew Okonski; former Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev; former French Foreign Minister Jean-Bernard Raimond; former Czech Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier; former head of state of Belarus Stanislaw Shushkevich; and several others.

The participants traveled today to the city of Gdansk and its shipyard, where the Solidarity movement originated, for a special session on “The Legacy of Solidarnosc,” the signing of the founding act of The European Solidarity Center, and the proclamation of August 31 as International Freedom and Solidarity Day. German President Horst Koehler, former Czech President Vaclav Havel, James A. Baker III, Hovannisian’s American counterpart in 1991-92, and a score of other government leaders joined the conference guests for these commemorative activities.

Raffi Hovannisian, who is founder of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies and the National Citizens’ Initiative, currently chairs the Heritage Party of Armenia.

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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