NEW YORK – The Socialist International Congress unanimously approved the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s application for membership in the worldwide organization on September 11, at its last session; the SI 20th Congress convened at the United Nations headquarters.
The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun was granted the status of Obsever Member. The ARF-D had been a member of the Socialist International since the last century; it had lost its full-member status due to changes in the SI’s statutes in the early sixties of this century. Since then, the ARF had participated in Socialist International meetings and activities as an invited guest.
The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun delegation, headed by ARF Bureau chairman Peno Tontian, included the party’s liaison with the Socialist International and Bureau member Mario Nalbandian, Bureau member Apo Boghikian, director of the Bureau’s research center in Armenia Edik Harutiunian and editor of Hairenik, the official publication of the ARF Eastern US Central Committee, Vahakn Karakashian.
The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun delegation joined representatives from Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics in signing an announcement calling on the leadership of the Socialist International to pay close attention to parties from that part of the world, and to get them more involved in organizational and political activities.
Several days prior to the Congress, Socialist International Women convened its 16th congress last weekend, with the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun being represented by Hilda Chopoyan.
The ARF’s participation in this important women’s organization provided the opportunity for the organization to better acquaint itself with womens’ issues internationally, and forge relations with other socialist womens’ parties throughout the world.
The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun delegation at the SI 20th Congress held talks with many member organizations. Of significant importance was the meeting with the Czech Republic’s parliamentary speaker Milos Zeman, who invited the ARF representatives to his country to address the legislature.
Polish Socialist party representative Thaddeus Uzinsky also invited the ARF to Poland to promote cooperation and bilateral relations.
Delegates from Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Uruguay, Cyprus, Argentina, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Hungary and others expressed support for the ARF’s membership in Socialist International.
The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun delegation congratulated the Palestinian Fatah party, and its president Yaser Arafat as well as the Cyprus delegation for their pro-Armenian presentations at the congress.
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Bureau member Mario Nalbandian held talks with Aksel Kevalle of the Jean Joresse Society while Bureau member Apo Boghikian met with the youth coordinator of Socialist International Alfredo Lazzaretti.
ARF-Dashnaktsutyun research center director Edik Harutunyan also held talks with the Ukrainian delegation.
The three-day congress addressed the current international economic trends, and future economic development based on Socialist principles and values. The Congress also evaluated the possibilities of establishing peace within the international community in light of burgeoning regional conflicts, as well as the preservation of human right on the threshold of the 21st century.
At the last session of its Congress, the Socialist International reelected Pierre Maureau as its chairman and Luis Ayala as its secretary-general. Both Socialist leaders have had close relations with the ARF and its leadership.
The ARF delegation congratulated the reelected officials and wished them success in their endeavors, especially at such a juncture where Socialist International is asserting its presence in the international community as a torchbearer for social justice, human rights and democratic principles.
In an interview with Droshak, the official publication of the ARF Bureau, Bureau member Mario Nalbandian stressed, that by rejoining the Socialist International, the ARF will be able to play a more active role in disseminating the ideology of the Socialist International, which in turn is also a forum for political dialogue to solve different regional conflicts. Nalbandian also stressed that the fact that the ARF was readmitted into the SI after having been suspended by the Armenian authorities, attests to the failure of the efforts by those authorities to discredit the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun.