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07YEREVAN106 2007-01-31 11:52:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Yerevan
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1. (C) Charge d'affaires presented the interim TIP report to
Armenian DFM Arman Kirakossian January 30, a week later than
first planned, because Kirakossian had had to travel abroad.
CDA emphasized the progress Armenia had made, and pointed out
that its relatively positive interim assessment was largely a
result of the actions it had taken in the last two months of
2006 (ref C), after post's strong interventions with the
GOAM. CDA noted that, while positive, the Prosecutor
General,s restructuring of the Anti-TIP Unit was not the
strong response to allegations of investigative misconduct
for which we had hoped (reftels). He stressed that continued
momentum on TIP was critical.

2. (C) Kirakossian told CDA that the MFA had finally
submitted to the government its proposal to raise the working
level of the Anti-TIP Interagency Commission to the
ministerial level (see paragraph 3). In response to another
of the complaints we raised to the GOAM during our anti-TIP
blitz late last year (reftels), Kirakossian said the
commission would meet February 8 to vote on the draft of the
overdue National Action Plan on trafficking before sending it
for cabinet approval.

3. (C) Anna Aghadjanian, head of the MFA's human rights desk
and an active member of the interagency commission,
told us the MFA had proposed to raise the commission to the
ministerial level, with Hovik Abrahamian, minister of
territorial administration and infrastructure coordination,
at the helm. Abrahamian's ministry oversees the police and
migration departments, as well as local government structures
across Armenia. Under the MFA's proposal, the other members
of the group would be deputy ministers, and the current
commission would be retained as a working group. Aghadjanian
said she expected a response from the cabinet any day.

4. (C) COMMENT: Though many members of the current commission
are hard-working and dedicated to the cause, the group has
lacked sufficient authority to make any real progress in the
fight against TIP. Abrahamian -- a political heavyweight and
de facto deputy prime minister -- certainly has the power to
make the commission fully effective, should he prove serious
about taking it on. If he is appointed, we will engage with
him heavily to ensure he understands the importance of his
role -- and the consequences to Armenia's TIP rating, should
he fail to take it seriously.