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Hovannisian Downplays Meeting With Armenian Speaker


Armenia - Raffi Hovannisian, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate, at an open-air press-conference in Liberty Square in Yerevan,18Mar2013.

Armenia - Raffi Hovannisian, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate, at an open-air press-conference in Liberty Square in Yerevan,18Mar2013.

Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian on Monday downplayed the significance of his meeting late last week with parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian, saying that the latter presented no government proposals to defuse post-election tensions in Armenia.

Abrahamian visited and spoke to Hovannisian for about 20 minutes on Friday evening at Liberty Square, the site of the Zharangutyun party leader’s ongoing hunger strike against the official results of the February 18 presidential election.

Abrahamian, who managed President Serzh Sarkisian’s reelection campaign, said afterwards that the Armenian authorities are ready to make “reasonable” concessions to their main election challenger. But he stressed that Hovannisian’s calls for fresh presidential or parliamentary elections remain “unacceptable” to them.

“He did not propose anything to me,” Hovannisian told journalists. “My interlocutor is Serzh Sarkisian, and as things stand now, Serzh Sarkisian has not sent me any proposals. It was a courtesy visit.”

Hovannisian, who has refused food for the past eight days, reiterated that he is awaiting “substantive proposals” from Sarkisian that would represent “solutions of national significance.” He did not elaborate.

Sarkisian and Hovannisian already meet in the presidential palace in Yerevan just days after the presidential election. The incumbent reportedly rejected his rival’s demands for a repeat ballot or dissolution of the current Armenian parliament dominated by presidential loyalists.

Sarkisian has expressed readiness through a spokesman to again receive Hovannisian. The latter insists, however, that such a meeting must take place at Liberty Square.
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