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Armenia’s People Have Not Been Prepared for Peace, Oppositionist Says

War and corruption are interrelated, and it is no coincidence that the world’s top ten corrupt countries are those currently involved in war, because army generals, for example, are using the war for their own purposes, Aram Manukyan, the secretary of the opposition Armenian National Congress faction, stated on Friday during a discussion of ANC leader, Armenian first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s last week’s speech on the “phased” settlement to the Karabakh conflict. Manukyan’s remark was addressed to political analyst Armen Grigoryan’s observation that the Karabakh conflict was not related to issue of ensuring economic competition in Armenia; according to Grigoryan, “it is instead necessary to get rid of monopolies, since emigration is in part related to economic challenges.”

Manukyan, however, insisted that economic issues are correlate highly with political ones; “War suggests economy. According to estimates of a number of economists, imported goods are 30% more expensive because of the blockade, because we don’t have a railway. With respect to economic development, Armenia is lagging behind by 15-20%. This needs to be finally stated. On Thursday, the parliament voted for three more loan agreements, increasing our foreign debt to $6 billion – 60% of the GDP.”

In response to a question as to how Armenia’s authorities should approach the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Manukyan said that, first and foremost, the executive authority must announce that it is for the conflict’s phased settlement; then this idea should be supported by the coalition, the press, and the public. “As a result, the international community will also side with Armenia’s willingness to reconcile,” the lawmaker said, adding that Armenian authorities have so far not prepared the people for peace.