John Heffern, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, met with Levon Ter-Petrosian on Monday just days after the opposition leader’s renewed calls for President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.
A short statement released by Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) said the former Armenian president commented on the current political situation in the country and “regional issues” at Heffern’s request. No further details were reported.
The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan issued no statements on what was Heffern’s second reported meeting with Ter-Petrosian in six months. The two men focused on upcoming municipal elections in Yerevan during their previous conversation in May. It came two days after Ter-Petrosian denounced the West for recognizing Sarkisian’s victory in the disputed February 2013 presidential election.
Ter-Petrosian has repeatedly accused the United States and the European Union of turning a blind eye to electoral fraud and human rights abuses in Armenia for “geopolitical considerations.”
It is not clear if the latest meeting with Heffern was connected with Ter-Petrosian’s October 30 statement demanding Sarkisian’s immediate resignation. The HAK leader charged that the president has brought Armenia into disrepute with his “adventurist political wanderings” between the West and Russia. Armenia, he said, needs a new president “capable of restoring the country’s international reputation as a trustworthy and responsible partner.”
Ter-Petrosian referred to Sarkisian’s recent unexpected decision to join a Russian-led alliance of ex-Soviet states at the expense of a much closer relationship with the EU.
EU leaders could shed more light on the uncertain future of ties with Armenia at an upcoming summit in Vilnius. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Monday discussed preparations for the summit at a lunch meeting with the Yerevan-based ambassadors of EU member states.