Armen Sarkissian, a former prime minister widely expected to be Armenia’s next president, flew to Moscow on Thursday for a visit during which he will meet with representatives of Russia’s large Armenian community.
“In the coming days he will also hold meetings in other Armenian communities,” his press office said in a short statement.
The statement did not name any Armenian Diaspora leaders in Moscow or elsewhere who are due to meet with Sarkissian. It was also not clear whether the latter will meet with Russian government officials or politicians during the trip.
Official Moscow has not publicly commented on the outgoing President Serzh Sarkisian’s offer to nominate the former premier for the post of president which will become vacant on April 9. The next head of state will be elected by the Armenian parliament and have few executive powers.
Sarkissian, who currently serves as Armenia’s ambassador to Britain, said on January 19 he will decide whether to accept the nomination after holding consultations with representatives of major political groups, civic and intellectual circles as well as Diaspora communities. He has already held a series of meetings in Yerevan.
A leading member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) expressed confidence on Tuesday that he will agree to run for president. The HHK, which is headed by Serzh Sarkisian, holds a majority of seats in the parliament.
On Wednesday, Armen Sarkissian was received by Catholicos Garegin II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. According to a statement by the church’s Mother See in Echmiazdin, Garegin said he hopes that the 64-year-old former Cambridge University scholar will accept the nomination and use his executive experience and “ties with the Diaspora” to the benefit of Armenia. He described Sarkissian as a “beloved son of the Armenian Church.”