The ruling Republican Party (HHK) challenged the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) on Tuesday to respond to the terms of a political dialogue with the government set by President Serzh Sarkisian.
Sarkisian on Friday reaffirmed his stated commitment to such a dialogue, while ruling out any formal negotiations between his governing coalition and the opposition alliance led by Levon Ter-Petrosian.
In a written statement, Sarkisian at the same time stopped short rejecting HAK demands for the formation of a negotiating team representing the government. He said the two rival sides could discuss pressing issues facing Armenia “through specially designated individuals.”
The HAK has yet to react to the president’s statement. The bloc said on Friday that it needs some time to do that because of “certain ambiguities contained in the statement.”
“Our colleagues from the Congress need to make a decision,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Since there has been no official reaction from them yet, there is nothing else we can say.”
“We can only say that we have taken steps to move forward along the path of dialogue because we continue to believe that upheavals and confrontations must be a thing of the past in Armenia,” Sharmazanov said.
The HAK may respond to Sarkisian at its next rally scheduled for June 30. Ter-Petrosian and his associates want the dialogue to take the form of negotiations conducted by special delegations representing the two rival parties. They formed a five-member negotiating team earlier this month.
According to Sharmazanov, the HHK’s junior partners in the governing coalition -- the Prosperous Armenia (BHK) and Orinats Yerkir parties -- fully agree with Sarkisian’s Friday statement.
Orinats Yerkir’s deputy chairwoman, Heghine Bisharian, confirmed this. “Orinats Yerkir has no problem with acting through designated individuals and engaging in such discussions around a table,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
BHK representatives declined to comment on Sarkisian’s statement, however.