The opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party on Wednesday urged Armenia’s leading political forces to start a dialogue on what it called “the most dangerous challenges” facing the country since the early 1990s.
Zharangutyun proposed that they set up an “informal political center” for roundtable discussions on how best to respond to the latest developments in the Turkish-Armenian diplomacy and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. It said that would be the first step towards achieving “national unity” on these and other pressing issues.
In a written statement, the party said the dialogue should involve the three parties represented in Armenia’s government as well as the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and Zharangutyun.
“Zharangutyun believes that the existing situation represents another opportunity to sit down and at least start a dialogue,” Stepan Safarian, a leading member of the party, told journalists. “What we have in Armenia now is only monologues and no dialogue.”
A senior representative of the main ruling Republican Party (HHK) was quick to voice skepticism about the initiative. Eduard Sharmazanov argued that President Serzh Sarkisian has occasionally held consultations with dozens of Armenian parties on Karabakh, Turkish-Armenian relations and domestic politics.
“I think that if necessary President Sarkisian will making use of his powers and a tradition already formed by him to convene a [new] consultation of political forces,” Sharmazanov said.
Both Zharangutyun and the HAK boycotted the discussions initiated by Sarkisian. The HAK said on Wednesday that it will respond to the dialogue proposal after officially receiving it from the party led by former Foreign Minister Raffi Hovannisian.
The opposition alliance says regime change is a necessary condition for successfully confronting Armenia’s internal and external challenges.