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Armenian Ruling Party Outlines Format For Opposition Dialogue


Armenia -- President Serzh Sargsian speaks at a congress of his Republican Party, Yerevan, 28Nov2009

Armenia -- President Serzh Sargsian speaks at a congress of his Republican Party, Yerevan, 28Nov2009

President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said on Monday that it will not form a special team to negotiate with the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK).


Senior HHK figures also warned that by insisting on the conduct of fresh national elections the HAK risks scuttling its unfolding dialogue with the Sarkisian administration.

The HAK last week named five senior members who will represent it in the planned negotiations. The opposition bloc led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian expected the government camp to follow suit.

But Galust Sahakian, an HHK deputy chairman, dismissed these expectations as “ridiculous.” He suggested that Ter-Petrosian’s negotiators approach the party’s official governing bodies.

“What we are saying is that we are ready [to start talks.] We have our executive bodies, so please go ahead. What day and time do you prefer?” Sahakian said, appealing to the HAK at a news conference.

For his part, HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov said that if the HAK has proposals concerning “the socioeconomic, political, geopolitical or any other sphere” it should submit them to “corresponding state structures.” In a written statement, he said Sarkisian’s party is ready to push through parliament HAK-drafted bills that would “help to alleviate our people’s hardship.”

Sharmazanov also reiterated that the Armenian government has no intention to hold snap elections and thus meet the main HAK demand. “The idea of pre-term elections is not only baseless but harmful in terms of thwarting progress in the unfolding positive developments,” he said.

The HHK spokesman further warned Ter-Petrosian and his allies should not act “from the position of monopolist in the opposition field.”

The head of the HAK’s negotiating team, Levon Zurabian, said on Friday that the opposition bloc will insist on snap polls during the dialogue. But he said it is also ready, in principle, to make “logical concessions” to the government.
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