The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has sent a mission to Armenia to assess the political situation in that former Soviet republic.
Meeting Monday with the Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly, Artur Bagdasaryan, the visiting PACE officials emphasized the need to resume political talks between the incumbent government and the Opposition and to create conditions for Opposition parties to return to parliament and take part in the revision of the republic's Constitution and Election Code, the National Assembly's PR department reports. It quotes Mr. Bagdasaryan as saying to the PACE delegation that Armenia is trying to do its best to meet its commitments on schedule.
The PACE officials also met with Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan. "My primary objective is to prepare a considered report, one that reflects the real picture of processes going on in Armenia," Co-Rapporteur Jerzy Jaskiernia said to Mr. Oskanyan. He then went on to tell the minister about his earlier meetings with Armenian Opposition politicians and community activists.
Mr. Oskanyan, for his part, told about his trip to Strasbourg following the PACE's adoption of a resolution on Armenia this past April. "The Armenian authorities took the resolution very seriously, and are now making active steps to solve problems raised in this document," he assured the PACE delegation.
Unauthorized, Opposition-staged protests have been underway in the republic since April 9. The protesters demand the resignation of President Robert Kocharyan.
On April 28, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution urging Armenia to settle its political crisis by September. If it fails to, the PACE will contemplate the suspension of the Armenian delegation's mandate.
Russia may terminate all kinds of military and military-technical relations with Israel, including the agreement on the exchange of reconnaissance data
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea