Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, met with opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Friday to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Armenia’s strained relations with Turkey, his Armenian National Congress (HAK) said.
“Prospects for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict and the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations were discussed at the meeting,” the HAK said in a press release. “The first president [of Armenia] also raised issues related to the release of political prisoners, restoration of democracy, fight against corruption and economic development.”
The opposition bloc gave no further details of the discussion, which it was also attended by a U.S. State Department analyst. The U.S. Embassy in Armenia did not issue any statements on it.
The meeting came almost two weeks after Ter-Petrosian’s latest public speech, in which he said that Armenia’s long-term security and prosperity is contingent on Karabakh peace and normal relations with Turkey. Ter-Petrosian earned plaudits in the West when he pushed the same message during the final months of his 1991-1998 presidency.
Nonetheless, Western powers and the United States in particular reacted coolly to his 2007 return to active politics and participation in the February 2008 presidential election.
Ter-Petrosian has repeatedly accused them of turning a blind eye on its alleged rigging and the Armenian government’s post-election crackdown on his loyalists. He has cited President Serzh Sarkisian’s Western-backed policy of rapprochement with Turkey and readiness to make major concessions to Azerbaijan as the main reasons for that.
The Russian Regnum news agency claimed earlier this week that Yovanovitch is now “actively lobbying” for a far-reaching dialogue between Ter-Petrosian and Sarkisian. Figures close to both men have dismissed the claim.