President Serzh Sarkisian has effectively sided with Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian in his bitter war of words with former President Robert Kocharian.
In a written statement to the “Aravot” daily published on Thursday, the presidential press secretary, Arman Saghatelian, said Sarkisian welcomes public debates that are aimed at “improving things.”
“At the same time, he considers ineffective pointless a debate stuck in the past or centering on past practices. Nor is he in favor of the practice of self-forgetfully immersing oneself into a debate. He is in favor of a calm, composed and unemotional discussion aimed at addressing issues,” Saghatelian said in a clear jibe at Kocharian. Tigran Sarkisian and government ministers have responded to criticism voiced by the ex-president in a “proper, composed and respectful” manner, he added.
Kocharian began attacking the Armenian government late last month in response to Tigran Sarkisian’s claims that Armenia’s economy grew at double-digit rates during his rule because of a construction “bubble.” The ex-president, who handed over power to Serzh Sarkisian in 2008, condemned the “inferior” premier and accused him of “moral degradation.”
Kocharian has also lambasted some cabinet members for their scathing responses to his statements. One of them, Energy Minister Armen Movsisian, said earlier this month that a controversial Russian-Armenian gas agreement signed recently is far more beneficial for Armenia than energy deals with the Russians that were cut during Kocharian’s rule.
Kocharian’s statements have rekindled speculation about his imminent return to politics. He has announced no such plans yet, however.