02, 2009

Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the "Prosperous Armenia" party convention

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

The previous convention of Prosperous Armenia took place more than a year ago. During that convention, the party, which plays an important role in our political life, endorsed my as a candidate at the elections for President of the Republic of Armenia. One year later, we are discussing issues related to the development and advancement of Armenia, to the prosperity of each and every one of our citizens, as well as the opportunities and means of building a better future for us all.

The last year witnessed numerous changes not only in Armenia but also world-wide. We are living in the time juncture which along with the answers and solutions requires a faster and a more coherent response to the challenges, which commands preventive and rapid actions for the arising threats.

The current international economic and financial crisis is in the center of the world’s attention as is the search for the means to overcome it. This is a crisis that actually results in the revision of the traditional economic practices.

The economic and financial crisis, which is occasionally perceived as an economic chaos, compelled the developed countries to introduce changes which would be deemed impossible in the past. However, so far the developed countries have not been able to establish a proper mechanism of cooperation to jointly moderate arising challenges. I think, one of the reasons could be in the inability to come up with the right recipe.

Understandably, the situation obligated the Government of Armenia to undertake unconditional steps. Direct involvement of the state aimed at the protection of local producers and export promotion, creation of the incentives for channeling the efforts of the importers with rich managerial experience of work in external markets for boosting the exports, as well as the ongoing and envisaged changes in the tax and customs legislation are designed to breathe new life in our economy. I personally believe that periodic changes in the economic legislation – whatever good intentions they may pursue – are detrimental for economic processes and arrangements. Today, we have serious problems to solve: we must protect ourselves, we must be able to provide whatever means for the protection of our businesses, and we must protect our economy.

I think with this regard, the Armenian Government is on the right track. The hubbub of those foretelling a total financial collapse in our country didn’t come true. Embittered hubbub makers took a higher tone. However, at this moment the temptation of getting short-term dividends should be resisted. When problems arise, especially the problems conditioned by the global crisis, the populist solutions seem to be the easiest ones. We have an exceptional opportunity not to fall into the trap of such temptations. We must counter social populism with professionalism and competence. This is the only way to win. And to win in this situation means to do everything possible to reduce the impact of the global economic and financial crisis on our country to the minimum, and to make the arising risks as manageable as possible in order not to find ourselves in a less advantageous situation compared to that of our neighbors. Just the way we have been able to fight price hikes. We all remember the dreadful prices in the world markets in 2008. Meanwhile, we were able to finish 2008 with only 9 per cent inflation. I am saying only 9 per cent because in comparison the neighboring states showed the index much higher than that. Our task is to shield our people from additional shocks and to mitigate the consequences of the global crisis in our country. And to blame the Government for that good intentions and to declare that the Government has stated that the global crisis will not reach Armenia, and that Armenia will remain “an isolated island”, I would say is at least not fair. I would like to repeat: our task today is to lessen the impact of the crisis on our country and to come out in a better shape than the others.

The direction, which the public discussions on the protection against the global crisis have taken up recently, at least on the pages of our media, is amazing. Sound logic would tell that the purpose of the discussions should be the search for the new solutions in unconventional situations, for higher efficiency in the utilization of the earmarked funds, and for the introduction of a growing number of changes in different areas. However, the main topic of the discussions is the following: “what have they sold to get these funds?” A person makes a bizarre public statement like “they sold Karabakh and got the funds”, then the other person makes an equally weird statement, and then the third person, rejecting the previous two statements as illogical, poses a question “what have they sold to get these funds?” This is preposterous. And I hope that eventually these discussions will become reasonable and those “fabricating” mendacities will wear out, though, to be honest, I wouldn’t count on that. I wouldn’t count on that because for many individuals the “fabrication” and dissemination of lies has become a way of life, for many it has become a breadwinning job, for many individuals it has become, in their understanding, the only means to stay in politics.

At the same time, I see the signs of pertinent discussions in the Parliament. I think we will be able to move forward, if we move fast, transparently, and carefully measuring each step. As I said before, a universal recipe for alleviating the consequences of the global crisis has not been found yet. Let’s be alert, let’s us be extremely cautious in our endeavors to resist the dangers of the crisis.

Dear Colleagues,

Last year our foreign policy, which is charted in the context of our general policy, became much more pro-active. With regard to the Nagorno Karabakh issue the position of the Republic of Armenia is crisp clear: the people of Nagorno Karabakh are entitled to the right of self-determination and have exercised it. Nagorno Karabakh cannot be a part of Azerbaijan: there are neither legal, nor historic grounds for it and more importantly, there is no will of the people of Nagorno Karabakh.

We believe that there is no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the NK conflict; it is the road which will bring to the recognition of the people of Nagorno Karabakh for self-determination. On this issue too I want to comment on our “woe- opponents’” viewpoint that we do not need Azerbaijan’s or international community’s recognition of the right for self-determination for the people of Nagorno Karabakh. It is an extremely fallacious approach. It is true that the right of people of Nagorno Karabakh for self-determination is unquestionable, however what should we do if our unquestionable right is not recognized? Our only option is to fight for the recognition of that right. There is, of course another option: we can cover our heads, announce that we don’t see or hear anything, and that we have an unquestionable right, and everyone has to come to terms with it. Is it an option, really? The only option is to fight for that recognition. The only option is the negotiations, and those who are trying to present these negotiations as a bargaining are profoundly mistaken for one simple reason: there is no price on the land of our fathers, and if there is no price there is no bargaining.

We will continue our dialogue with the Republic of Turkey. Our objective is the establishment of relations without any preconditions and de-blockading of the Armenian borders. I am confident that we should be able to establish normal relations with our neighbors. Today, there is a good chance to improve Armenian-Turkish relations and we should use that chance, and on this issue the opinion of our people will be the decisive factor.

Armenia is working actively to fulfill the obligations assumed at the European structures and to put the process of the Eurointegration on a solid base. We have registered observable results on that direction and we have even greater expectations. Armenia also actively participates in the development and implementation of the initiatives which serve our national interests in the framework of the CIS and particularly in the Common Security Treaty Organization.

At the same time, we will continue to develop multifaceted good relations with the neighboring states, especially in the areas of energy, communications, and close economic cooperation. This stems not only from the interests of our state and our people but also from the interests of the regional states and their people.

Dear Mr. Tsarukian,
Dear Friends,

Prosperous Armenia Party today plays an important and considerable role in the development and implementation of the state policy pertaining to all areas of the country’s life. We have been able to set an example of successful coalition cooperation. As President of the Republic of Armenia and as the Chairman of the Republican Party, I express my satisfaction with this cooperation. Our activities will continue to be based on the essential values of cooperation.

One year ago we had mutual goals. Today, our time-tested unity has brought us all together once again. We are all united around one goal – to see Armenia strong and prosperous, stable and powerful.

One year ago we were discussing both problems and programs. Nowadays, we should be able along with solving imperative problems to set priorities and implement programs which in the long run will ensure Armenia’s advancement, strengthen our independence, and sovereignty.

We have obligations and must fulfill them, we must keep our word, we must work day and night, work with doubled enthusiasm for the glory of strong and prosperous Armenia. We must move forward, and we must move relentlessly.

I wish you productive work, and I wish our country peace, stability, and progress.

Thank you.

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