The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) praised opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Wednesday for his unprecedented overtures to President Serzh Sarkisian made following the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“That phenomenon deserves utmost respect,” said HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov. “The first president [of Armenia] demonstrated a statesmanlike thinking.”
Bitter rivals until now, Sarkisian and Ter-Petrosian met at the ex-president’s initiative on Saturday to discuss Armenia’s response to the worst fighting in Karabakh since 1994. The top leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) went on to urge other opposition forces to put aside their difference with the government and strive for a “national consolidation.”
“Now is not the time to accuse the authorities and try to hold them accountable for mistakes and failings,” Ter-Petrosian said. He at the same time urged the authorities to combat corruption, tackle electoral fraud and take other “positive steps” that have long been sought by the Armenian opposition.
Sharmazanov agreed that the situation in the Karabakh conflict zone necessitates changes in government policies. “Yes, we need to reconsider our positions on virtually all issues,” he told reporters. “There is a need for more targeted expenditures.”
Sharmazanov, who is also a deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, did not elaborate. Instead, he expressed hope that Robert Kocharian, another ex-president who has also been at odds with Sarkisian, will follow Ter-Petrosian’s example.
Kocharian made clear earlier this week that he has no intention to meet with Sarkisian, his successor and erstwhile ally. He said he can only urge the Sarkisian administration to take urgent steps to strengthen the Armenian military.