The European Union reiterated late Wednesday its calls for the Armenian authorities to lift the state of emergency in Yerevan, release all political prisoners and agree to an “independent investigation” into the country’s deadly post-election unrest.
The government of Slovenia, holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, also said on behalf of the block that it is “particularly concerned” about continuing arrests of supporters of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. “The Presidency calls again upon the Armenian authorities to release citizens detained in connection with their political activities and to refrain from further arrests of opposition leaders,” it said in a statement.
“The Presidency reiterates its recommendation to conduct an independent investigation of the events of 1 March and what led to them,” the statement said. In a further indication of EU distrust in the authorities’ ongoing investigation into those events, it welcomed a March 2 report by Armenia’s human rights Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian that questioned the use of force against thousands of Ter-Petrosian supporters demanding a re-run of last month’s disputed presidential election.
The statement also renewed the EU’s calls for the Armenian government and the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition to embark on “political dialogue based on mutual understanding and trust.”
Ter-Petrosian has repeatedly said that he is ready to start such dialogue so long as the authorities accept EU recommendations contained in a similar statement issued by the Slovenian presidency last week. The government’s position those recommendations remains unclear.