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Representatives of Armenia’s government and opposition camps have spurned, for different reasons, the criticism contained in the latest statement of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), in which the nationalist party called for Yerevan’s major policy change on Turkey and Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Dashnaktsutyun’s Executive Council of Armenia, in particular, called for an end to negotiations with Turkey, which it described as “seriously dangerous for Armenia” and “serving Turkish interests”.

“Time has shown that these negotiations are fruitless,” Artyusha Shahbazian, a member of the party’s supreme body, stressed in an interview with RFE/RL on Wednesday. He added that Dashnaktsutyun would not limit itself to a public rally in Yerevan on September 2 dealing with the current state of Armenian-Turkish relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process, but would continue to present its demands on these issues also “in other ways”.

Dashnaktsutyun, which cited foreign policy differences to quit Armenia’s ruling coalition in April after staying within Armenian governments for nearly a decade, also reaffirmed on Tuesday that it continued to hold Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian responsible for “diplomatic failures” both in the current Armenian-Turkish rapprochement and in the continuing peace talks with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Vice-Chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) Razmik Zohrabian laughed off the stance of the former coalition partner, noting that the foreign minister solely fulfils the policy of the current political coalition and the president.

“If they [Dashnaktsutyun] demand the resignation of the foreign minister, it means they also hit the political coalition,” Zohrabian underscored.

In its statement, Dashnaktsutyun also demanded that Nagorno-Karabakh regain a full party’s status in the continuing talks with Azerbaijan where at present Armenia effectively negotiates on its behalf.

Hovannes Igitian, a senior member of the opposition Armenian National Movement (HHSh), called Dashnaktsutyun’s demand ‘illogical’ given the party’s tacit support for the policy of former president Robert Kocharian, whom Armenia’s main opposition group holds responsible for supplanting Nagorno-Karabakh as a negotiating party.

“Dashnaktsutyun supported him and perhaps out of gratitude did not interfere with Kocharian’s policies and did not point out those mistakes. And today, when the process is becoming irreversible, suddenly Dashnaktsutyun remembers that something wrong has happened. This all is more connected with individuals rather than with the objective situation,” said Igitian.

The main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), of which the HHSh is a core member, is also known to support Stepanakert’s return to the negotiating table as a full party.

The HAK and its top leader, ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian, have also repeatedly denounced the current administration’s policy on Turkey as a gross failure.
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