Armenia’s governing coalition said on Monday that it will not ask for renewed negotiations with the Armenian National Congress (HAK) despite the end of nonstop demonstrations held by the opposition alliance.
Davit Harutiunian, the chief coalition negotiator, said the onus is on the HAK to restart the talks which it suspended in late August in protest against the controversial arrest of an opposition activist.
HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian offered to resume the dialogue without any preconditions when his bloc set up a tent camp in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on September 30. Coalition representatives said this could happen only after the end of the “illegal” protests.
The HAK responded by stating that it would not agree to return to the negotiating table without a formal request from the Armenian authorities. Ter-Petrosian reaffirmed this condition as he called an end to the nonstop protests on Saturday.
“We believe that there always exist important topics for discussion,” Harutiunian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “But we are absolutely not going to request their discussion within the framework of the dialogue.”
“A dialogue must reflect the conscious will and desire of two sides … I think that once the opposition realizes this we could again speak of dialogue. It would premature to speak of that until that time,” he said.
Harutiunian, who chairs the Armenian parliament’s committee on legal affairs, also scoffed at Ter-Petrosian’s remark that President Serzh Sarkisian’s immediate resignation will be the HAK’s “main slogan” from now on.
Delegations representing the two rival camps held six rounds of negotiations in July and August after Sarkisian made a number of concessions to the HAK. Those included the release of the last opposition members remaining in jail on charges related to the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.