Deputy parliament speaker Samvel Balasanian expressed confidence on Friday that the stalled negotiations between Armenia’s governing coalition and the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) will resume soon.
“Naturally, there will be an appropriate analysis [of the situation] and as a result of that, the parties will be able to continue the dialogue,” Balasanian told journalists. “That is my opinion.”
The HAK last month suspended the dialogue, aimed at defusing political tensions in the country, to protest against the arrest and prosecution of one of its activists charged with assaulting police officers.
Its top leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, said on September 9 that the HAK will resume the talks if the activist, Tigran Arakelian, is released from pre-trial detention “in the coming days.”
Senior coalition representatives rejected this precondition. Davit Harutiunian, head of a coalition negotiating team, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), on Monday that he will not plead with law-enforcement authorities to free Arakelian and that the matter “must be solved on the legal plane.”
Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), reaffirmed this stance on Friday. “There can be no political solution to this case,” he said at a news conference.
The HAK has pledged to step up anti-government demonstrations in Yerevan if the dialogue ends in failure and if the authorities continue to reject its demands for fresh national elections. The bloc’s next rally in the city’s Liberty Square is scheduled for September 23.