In November 1995, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dasnaktsutyun convened its 26th World Congress in Lebanon. The ARF-D had appealed to the Armenian authorities, to facilitate the convening of the World Congress in Armenia. The appeal was refused on grounds that World Congress delegates would include non-Armenian citizens, which according to the interpretation of the authorities, would constitute a violation of the Law on Public and Political Organizations.
The World Congress concluded its three-week deliberations by electing a nine-member Bureau composed of Peno Tontian (Chairman, Lebanon), Massis Baghdassarian (Armenia), Mardoun Matevossian (Armenia), Garo Armenian (USA), Apo Boghigian (USA), Viken Hovsepian (Canada), Mguerditch Mguerditchian (Lebanon), Mario Nalbandian (Argentine) and Tatul Ohanian (Iran).
Despite the difficulties placed by Armenia’s leadership on the free and unencumbered activities of the ARF-D and relentless state propaganda to discredit the party, the World Congress, with delegations representing the organization throughout the world, considered the principle of “One nation, one homeland,” and national unity to outweigh all other current issues. The Congress focused on political and organizational issues dealing with the reemergence of the ARF-D organization in the homeland, making it the central theme of its agenda.
The World Congress conducted a comprehensive analysis of the ARF-D’s direction, discussing its successes and oversights both in Armenia and the Diaspora. The Congress affirmed that the party’s Armenia policy did not achieve anticipated results due to external forces that have interests in Armenia and the region, the Armenian government’s autocratic proclivities in general, and specifically its anti-ARF-D actions that led to an atmosphere of absolute confrontation when the ARF-D attempted to counter those actions.
In its Declaration, the AR-DF World Congress asserts that “the ARF-D was imputed with having absolute intentions of overtutning the government by initiating a movement of popular protest, whereas […] the ARF-D was against any attempt at destablization that would weaken our newly independent statehood. In recent years, during many moments of crisis in Armenia, the ARF-D demonstrated its resolve to thwart such dangers.”
For the ARF to fully shoulder its share of responsibility in the all-Armenian effort to resolve the issues of fundemental importance to Armenia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), and the Armenian nation in general, the World Congress “considers it necessary that the ARF-D organization in Armenia operate freely; that can be furthered througfh the establishment of normal relations between the authorities of the Armenian Republic and the ARF-D. Taking into consideration the present realities of Armenia, the ARF-D organization in Armenia shall henceforth operate through a supreme congress of Armenia and a supreme body elected by it”.
The World Congress resolved that in “struggling against social polarization, and defending the rights and interests of the vulnerable segments of our people, the ARF will use all its resources to help overcome the socioeconomic crisis confronting th people of Armenia.”
The World Congress further resolved that in order to endow “the Republic of Armenia with a truly democratic order, the ARF-D will work among the people, becoming an effective force of popular pressure to counteract the socially unjust and crisis-inducing policies of the current authorities”.
The World Congress further declares that “the positions to be adopted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun vis-à-vis the authorities of Armenia will have as their basis the overall national interest. The ARF-D will continue its stance of democratic opposition vis-à-vis the present authorities, because it is imperative to counter and correct the mistakes being made. The ARF-D was and remains — as a matter of principle — opposed to any power or entity effecting a change in the government by force; similarly, the ARF considers attacks aimed at any segment of the Armenian people to be an attack against the entire nation and its potential”.
The World Congress resolved that “the ARF-D shall operate in Armenia and the Diaspora with the motivation of integrating Armenia and the Diaspora.”