By Astghik Bedevian
Armenia’s main opposition alliance has no plans yet to resume street protests in Yerevan and continues to believe that international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have reached the final stage, a close associate of its top leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, said on Monday.
Ter-Petrosian and his Armenian National Congress (HAK) announced on October 17 that they are suspending their year-long campaign of anti-government rallies for “two or three months” because of what he described as an impending resolution of the Karabakh conflict. He said continued opposition pressure could force President Serzh Sarkisian to make greater concessions to Azerbaijan.
Aram Sarkisian (no relation), who leads one of about two dozen opposition parties aligned in the HAK, insisted that the Karabakh negotiating process is now at its “most active phase,” even though Armenia and Azerbaijan have still not signed any peace accords. “It would be wrong to talk about resuming demonstrations during this really active phase,” Sarkisian told RFE/RL. The HAK does not want to weaken the Armenian president’s hand in these circumstances and will only hold an indoor conference on December 19, he said.
“I don’t care if Serzh Sarkisian stays in power for several more or less months,” said Sarkisian.
“If there is a need to give [the authorities] additional time to achieve a pro-Armenian solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, I will definitely be in favor of that,” he added.
The outspoken leader of the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party claimed at the same time that President Sarkisian is not interested in a Karabakh settlement and is only “stalling for time.” The remark seemed to contradict Ter-Petrosian’s October 17 claim that the Armenian leader would go as far as to “put up Karabakh for sale” in return for securing the West’s unwavering support for his rule.