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Government ‘Offer’ Made To Armenian Hostage Takers


Armenia - Police officers sleep on the ground on a blocked street in Yerevan leading to a police station seized by anti-government gunmen, 19Jul2016.

Armenia - Police officers sleep on the ground on a blocked street in Yerevan leading to a police station seized by anti-government gunmen, 19Jul2016.

The Armenian government has made a new proposal to gunmen holding four police officers hostage at a police station in Yerevan, a member of their radical opposition group said on Tuesday.

Alek Yenigomshian said he has been acting as a go-between in negotiations held the National Security Service (NSS) and the armed members of the Founding Parliament movement that seized the building on Sunday, killing one senior police officer, wounding several others and taking the hostages.

The gunmen’s main demand is the release of Zhirayr Sefilian, the Founding Parliament leader who was arrested last month for allegedly plotting an armed revolt. As of Tuesday evening, security forces refrained from storming the seized police premises in Yerevan’s southern Erebuni district.

“Those negotiations continued yesterday and the National Security Service (NSS) submitted a demand-proposal to the ‘Sasna Tsrer’ armed group,” Yenighomshian told reporters.

Armenia -- A member of the Founding Parliament movement, Alek Enigomshian, speaks to journalists in Yerevan, 19Jul2016

Armenia -- A member of the Founding Parliament movement, Alek Enigomshian, speaks to journalists in Yerevan, 19Jul2016

“Yesterady I met with NSS officials, Zhirayr Sefilian [in prison] and members of ‘Sasna Tsrer’ group,” he said. “I gave them the NSS’s demand-proposals, details of which I won’t publicize for now. Those guys said they will respond to it tonight at 7 p.m.”

Both the NSS and the Armenian police have branded the attackers as “terrorists” and demanded their unconditional surrender.

Yenigomshian said that although the gunmen’s mobile phones were no longer reachable on Tuesday morning he received assurances from the NSS that the talks with them will continue. “I’m very happy with that,” he said, speaking on a blocked street leading to the seized police compound.

In a statement issued at 5 p.m., the NSS said law-enforcement officials are continuing “intensive negotiations” with the gunmen in an effort to ensure their surrender and the liberation of the hostages. “Armenian law-enforcement bodies are doing everything to hold the armed group back from further bloodshed,” it said.

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