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July 27, 2005

ACNIS Faces Armenia’s National Security Challenges

Yerevan—The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today convened a policy roundtable on ways to meet the contemporary challenges to Armenia’s national security under the light of new geopolitical realities. The meeting brought together those formerly and currently in charge of the sector, experts, social and political observers, and media representatives.

ACNIS’s director of administration Karapet Kalenchian greeted the audience with opening remarks. “Since they are considered as one inseparable entity, and are dependent on one another, we therefore have joined the factors for domestic and external security. If domestic security factors become unstable, then external security weakens twice as much, and incomparably greater efforts would be required in order to balance those threats out,” Kalenchian noted.

A policy intervention by Ashot Manucharian, political secretary of the Union of Socialist Forces and Intellectuals, encompassed the probable consequences of domestic and external challenges which pose a threat to Armenia 's national security. According to him, this topic is very urgent, because “our country is again in the wake of serious changes,” and the key pressing issue is to withstand the threats that today exist in the domains of economy, security, external policy, and state-building. The value system which in the last 15-16 years has been presented to society in a disfigured manner has added particular acuteness to those challenges. ”If in 1988 the characteristic values of our people were prudence, patriotism, creative pathos, and a sense of unity, today the main parameters are wealth, mastering the mechanism of power, ostentation and bullying, all of which portend catastrophic results,“ Manucharian underlined.

In his address, ACNIS analyst Alen Ghevondian touched upon the role and significance of the political derivative of Armenia ’s national security. “The importance of the political component of security lies in the fact that when democratic processes are implemented in Armenia, and the country faces the task of cultivating effective mechanisms for internal political management, then from the vantage point of ensuring state security the nature of those processes’ political structural element takes on landmark significance,” Ghevondian pointed out. He also put the jeopardies to political security into three distinct categories: dangers which threaten the political order and which could stem from a variety of public activity realms; dangers which flow from the political system toward the economy as well as social and spiritual-ethical processes; and finally, threats to the political order which originate from the very same political order. According to the specialist, in practical politics these categories frequently become combined.

Within the framework of the modern challenges of regional security directed at Armenia, Yerevan State University lecturer Aram Harutiunian underscored the external threats, because in his view the adverse internal stimulants of security—emigration, corruption, perilous alienation of strategic institutions, political killings, and social explosion—are much more evident and renowned. Harutiunian expressed confidence that a change in the current security system is extremely dangerous for the country. “As long as the unlikely declarations being made from Baku in regard to its unconcealed revanchism have not yet ceased, a major change in the developmental directions of armaments, army-building, appropriated military technology, and all related systems would result at this time in indices of vulnerability which would bear destructive consequences for us,” Harutiunian said, also attaching importance to consolidating Armenia’s place and role within the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The formal interventions were followed by contributions by Edward Antinian of the National Progressive Party; Ruzan Khachatrian of the People’s Party; Karlen Alexanian of the Democratic Fatherland Party; ACNIS analysts Alvard Barkhudarian and Hovsep Khurshudian; former minister of state Vahan Shirkhanian; Slavonic University professor Rozalina Gabrielian; National Assembly staff member Mara Sahakian; National Press Club chairperson Narine Mkrtchian; 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 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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