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ARF-D hosts SI Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea meeting in Yerevan

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From L to R: Tadeusz Iwinski, Luis Ayala, Mario Nalpatian, Hrant Margaryan, Maria Titizian

YEREVAN — The Socialist International Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea met in Yerevan, Armenia, on June 11-12, with 32 participants representing 15 parties from 13 countries, as well as the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists (PES). The committee meeting, the first ever in Yerevan, brought together representatives of socialist and social-democratic parties from all over the region, including Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Greece, Hungary, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Palestine, and was hosted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnkatsutyun (ARF-D, Armenian socialist party).

The meeting held discussions on a number of topics, including important recent developments in the region. The agenda for the meeting covered (1) Brief reports from countries of the region; (2) Working towards a peaceful resolution to regional conflicts; (3) Ensuring and consolidating the progress of democracy and its institutions in the region; and (4) Advancing the social democratic platform in the countries of the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea.

The meeting was held at the Erebuni Business Center and was chaired by Mario Nalpatian (ARF-D Bureau member) and Alexandra Dobolyi (MSzP, Hungary), co-chairs of the committee. Also attending the meeting were SI Secretary General Luis Ayala, SI Vice-President Maria Titizian (ARF-D, Armenia) and Vice-Chair of the Committee Tadeusz Iwinski (SLD, Poland).

On June 11, ARF-D Bureau Chairman Hrant Margaryan delivered welcoming remarks. On June 12, ARF-D Supreme Council of Armenia Chairman Armen Rustamyan presented the report on Armenia.

On June 10, the first press conference was organized at the ARF-D Bureau headquarters. On June 12, the second press conference was held to inform the media on the deliberations and conclusions of the committee meeting.

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Yerevan meeting of the SI Committee on the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea

The Socialist International is the worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor parties. It currently brings together 170 political parties and organizations from all continents.

The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun rejoined the Socialist International in September 1996, which it had originally joined in 1907. In 2003, the ARF-D became a full member of the Socialist International, thus becoming the only party in the CIS with such a status.

During the XXIII Congress of the Socialist International in Athens, June 2008, ARF-D representative Maria Titizian was elected vice-president of the organization.

The SI Council in Mexico, November 2008, elected ARF-D Bureau member Mario Nalpatian as co-chair of the SI Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea.

The ARF-D Women’s Group is a member of the SIW (Socialist International Women) and the youth organization of the ARF-D, the Armenian Youth Federation, is a full member of the IUSY (International Union of Socialist Youth) and an observer member of the ECOSY (European Community Organization of Socialist Youth).

COMMITTEE FOR THE CIS, THE CAUCASUS AND THE BLACK SEA

Advancing social democracy, fostering cooperation

and promoting dialogue in the countries of the CIS:

SI Committee meets in Yerevan

11-12 JUNE 2010

The meeting of the Socialist International Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea brought together members of social democratic parties from the region and beyond in Yerevan (list of participants), to discuss the role of social democracy in the changing circumstances they live in; from new emerging democracies to regimes left over from an authoritarian past, from societies that know a newly won peace to countries that live through the pain of unresolved conflicts. The meeting was hosted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-D), and chaired by Mario Nalpatian (ARF-D, Armenia) and Alexandra Dobolyi (MSzP, Hungary), Co-Chairs of the Committee.

The Committee addressed the need to advance democracy and stability in the region and to settle unresolved conflicts, a role which was dramatically underlined by the participation in the meeting in Yerevan of the Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan (SDPA), represented by their Deputy Chair, Saladdin Hosrul oglu Allahverdiev, a first such encounter since the open military conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Welcoming the delegates to Yerevan, ARF-D President Hrant Margaryan thanked the Socialist International for its efforts in bringing together Armenia and its neighbour, expressing his optimism that their conflict could be resolved and showing the readiness of his party to welcome the delegate of the SDPA. He stressed that all present were members of the same ideological family, and that this coming together could help to achieve success. He described how the party was trying to establish a country based on social democratic principles, a society that could secure the existence and advancement of the values of our movement in the South Caucasus.

Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the SI, expressed at the opening his belief that there can be no solution to conflict without dialogue, showing his gratitude to the ARF-D for agreeing to move forward these talks, with representatives of the SDPA. This was a significant moment for the International; though this was the first official meeting to be held in Armenia, it was the result of a long history of collaboration and cooperation with the ARF-D, and was representative of the hope and aspiration social democracy brings to many people. It was, he continued, an appropriate moment to meet, both in a global and regional sense. Optimistically he observed that the SI was fostering proximity in the region, noting the strong participation of representatives from the CIS and the Caucasus.

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Saladdin Alaverdiev, Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijan Social Democratic Party

Productive discussions were held on common issues, with representatives from each of the parties represented giving detailed reports on their national situations and responding to queries from other members of the Committee. These reports covered the recent activities of the parties within their countries, as well as their relationships with other parties of the region, and both national and regional political developments and their effect upon those parties. Throughout these presentations the theme of a desire for transparency and electoral regularity in many countries of the region was strongly communicated, with an emphasis on the role of social democratic parties to advance democracy, through cooperation between those who share similar realities and values within the Socialist International.

On the morning of 12 July, Saladdin Hosrul oglu Allahverdiev, SDPA Deputy Chair, and Armen Rustamyan from the leadership of the ARF-D presented their countries’ situations, and engaged in an open and productive discussion on the issues faced by their respective nations in relation to the unresolved issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. On this question, both parties gave accounts of the views of various actors on the debate, with delegates given the opportunity to react to what they had heard, and pose questions. In this way an extremely beneficial debate was conducted on different and difficult aspects of the dispute, and the ongoing tensions and alternatives for peace were examined.

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Armen Rustamyan, ARF-D Supreme Council of Armenia Chairman

Concluding the meeting, SI Secretary General Luis Ayala treated the case of each of the countries of the region in turn, reflecting the views of the Committee members and the content of the discussions held over the two-day meeting. On Armenia, he took stock of the Committee’s solidarity with the ARF-D, recognising their role in advancing social democracy and in encouraging efforts to find peaceful and just solutions to regional conflicts, within a spirit of openness and good neighbourhood, and without preconditions. On Azerbaijan, greeting the presence of the SDPA delegate at the meeting and expressing the Committee’s recognition and support of the role of social democracy there, he agreed to transmit to the authorities in that country the need for the return of former President Mutallibov, adding that the SI should organise a mission to Azerbaijan in October, before the elections to be held this year, and should hold a meeting of the Committee there in the future, with the aim of engaging in a similarly open and fruitful discussion to the one in Armenia. He added that the International, in bringing together delegates from those two countries had demonstrated the positive role of politics and the maturity and courage of both parties to look towards a peaceful future.

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L to R: Alexandra Dobolyi (Committee co-chair, MSzP, Hungary), Luis Ayala (SI Secretary General), Mario Nalpatian (Committee co-chair, ARF-D, Armenia), Maria Titizian (SI Vice-President, ARF-D, Armenia)

He welcomed the first participation of parties from Georgia in the Committee, demonstrating that they could be part of a constructive partnership in the region, and reiterated the hope expressed by delegates that an open, democratic Georgia could become a hub of stability for all. He proposed the idea of a roundtable of social democrats under the aegis of the SI in Georgia, with Armenian and Azeri participation to continue the progress made in Yerevan. The Committee, he said, after the discussions of Yerevan, remains together with the parties and people of Belarus in their struggle for democracy, and will continue to explore the possibility of meeting in Minsk. He addressed the delegates from both Belarusian parties present as the representatives of the Belarusian people, and indicated a desire to include others from that country as well in the work of the International. The current situation, he added, demands and requires that a mission of the SI visit Belarus before the next Council in the Autumn.

He described the progress made by member parties such as the SDPU in Ukraine in their efforts to increase cooperation with trade unions, saying that the International should encourage social democratic development there, aiming for a broader participation from Ukrainian parties at the next meeting. He pointed to the Committee’s satisfaction with developments in the Republic of Moldova, recalling the demands for new elections last year voiced at its previous meeting, initiating a process whose next phase should be completed with a victory in the presidential elections by the candidate of the Democratic Party of Moldova. He asserted the need to add the voice of the Committee to calls for calm in Kyrgyzstan in light of the tragic events unfolding in Osh, and welcomed developments in Kazakhstan, looking forward to the attendance of the All-National Democratic Party (AZAT) at the forthcoming Council.

In the new unfolding realities of the CIS, social democracy was a growing political force, now with a distinctive presence in nine of the twelve states and this has created a new dynamic, he concluded, confirming the relevance of and need for the work of the International in this part of the world.

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

Socialist International Luis Ayala
(Secretary General)
ARMENIA
ARF Armenian Socialist Party Mario Nalpatian
(Co-Chair of the Committee)
Maria Titizian
(SI Vice-President)

Hrant Margaryan
Armen Rustamyan
Vahan Hovhannesyan
Levon Mkrtchyan
Ara Nranyan

Bagrat Yessayan
Edward Ghazaryan
Giro Manoyan
Armen Sargsyan

AZERBAIJAN
Azerbaijani Social Democratic Party, ASDP Saladdin Hosrul oglu Allahverdiev
BELARUS
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (NH) Nikolay Statkevich
Sergey Skrebets
BELARUS
Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Hramada) Anatoli Liaukovich
Valiantsin Askirka
GEORGIA
Labour Party Nestan Kirtadze
GEORGIA
Social Democrats for the Development of Georgia Gia Jorjolani
Gela Bandzeladze
GERMANY
German Social Democratic Party, SPD Friedrich Otto Johann Roll
GREECE
Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK Paulina Lampsa
HUNGARY
Hungarian Socialist Party, MSzP Alexandra Dobolyi
(Co-Chair of the Committee)
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
Democratic Party of Moldova, PDM Igor Klipii
PALESTINE
Fatah Sufian Khalil Basit
POLAND
Democratic Left Alliance, SLD Tadeusz Iwinski
(Vice-Chair of the Committee)
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
A Just Russia Tatyana Moskalkoba
Boris Guseletov
Evgeni Kopolev
SWEDEN
Social Democratic Party, SAP Åsa Lindestam
UKRAINE
Social Democratic Party of Ukraine, SDPU Alex Antonov
Party of European Socialist, PES David Capezzuto
SI Secretariat Takeshi Stokoe