Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian urged fellow Armenian politicians on Tuesday to be more tight-lipped in their private conversations, pointing to embarrassing disclosures by WikiLeaks of U.S. diplomatic records.
“In light of all WikiLeaks revelations [related to Armenia,] I want to warn some politicians, who always talk to people behind the scenes, that one day their conversations, their thoughts may be accessible to the public,” Abrahamian told journalists.
“Therefore, I urge them to be moderate in their words and approaches,” he said.
WikiLeaks has publicized in recent months scores of leaked cables sent to Washington by American diplomats in Yerevan. Some of them cite Armenian government officials, pro-government and opposition politicians and prominent businessmen as making unusually frank and revealing comments on domestic and foreign policy issues.
According to one of the cables, Abrahamian attacked Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian in 2009 when he discussed the latter’s stated reform efforts with Joseph Pennington, the former U.S. deputy chief of mission in Armenian.
The Armenian speaker denied that information. “I have never met with the [U.S.] vice-ambassador,” he claimed. “So there could not have been any conversation.”
Armenian newspapers have for years alleged that Abrahamian is keen to undercut Sarkisian and become prime minister.
Abrahamian, who has extensive business interests, served as deputy prime minister before being elected parliament speaker three years ago. His political clout is thought to have decreased since then.