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RFE/RL Barred From Covering Russian-Armenian Talks


Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) meets with Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of Russia's Security Council, in Yerevan, 6Mar2017.

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) meets with Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of Russia's Security Council, in Yerevan, 6Mar2017.

Unlike several other media outlets, RFE/RL’s Armenian service was not allowed to cover talks between the secretaries of Armenia’s and Russia’s national security councils held in Yerevan on Tuesday.

Russia’s Nikolay Patrushev met with his Armenian counterpart Yuri Khachaturov on the second day of his visit to the Armenian capital.

An official from Khachaturov’s staff, who refused to identify himself, blocked an RFE/RL TV crew from entering a hotel hall where the meeting took place, even though it was accredited by the Russian Embassy in Armenia beforehand. By contrast, journalists working for six other outlets were able to cover the talks.

The chief of the Armenian Security Council staff, Aram Tananian, gave no clear reasons for the refusal. “I wouldn’t call it a ban,” Tananian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “We just didn’t invite you. You came here without an invitation.”

When pressed on criteria for the choice of the six other media organizations, he said: “I don’t have to think about and formulate principles for not inviting you.”

Tananian also insisted that the Russian side has nothing to do with the refusal. “We are the hosts and we decide how to receive guests and deal with others,” he said.

Patrushev’s press secretary, Yevgeny Anoshin, declined to comment on the reason for RFE/RL’s exclusion. “I don’t know,” he said after the meeting.

Patrushev was received by President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday. In a statement, Sarkisian’s press office said the two men praised close ties between Russia and Armenia and discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and other “regional developments.”

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