Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian held on Thursday an unexpected meeting with Edmon Marukian, the leader of one of the two opposition parties represented in the Armenian parliament.
“We drank coffee,” Pashinian told reporters after the meeting held in Marukian’s office in the parliament building. He refused to give any details.
Marukian said, for his part, that the conversation focused on recent developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. He said Pashinian dispelled his concerns over opposition and media speculation that Armenia is facing strong pressure from international mediators to agree to a peace deal involving far-reaching Armenian territorial concessions to Azerbaijan.
“I think we need to hold such discussions from time to time,” added the leader of the opposition Bright Armenia Party (LHK).
Pashinian was asked by another opposition lawmaker about the current state of the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiating process but shed little light on it when he spoke in the National Assembly on Wednesday. He reiterated the official Armenian line that Karabakh residents’ right to self-determination must be at the heart of any peaceful settlement.
Marukian insisted that he did not discuss any domestic political issues with the prime minister.
The meeting came ten days after Marukian traded serious insults with one of Pashinian’s close associates, Alen Simonian, on the parliament floor. Marukian was enraged by Simonian’s sexist comments about a female LHK parliamentarian who criticized by the latter during a parliament debate. Simonian apologized to the lawmaker, Ani Samsonian, afterwards.
Pashinian and Marukian are former political allies who used to co-head the Yelk bloc that was in opposition to Armenia’s former leadership. The bloc fell apart after Marukian and his party refused to join mass protests launched by Pashinian in April 2018 against then President Serzh Sarkisian’s attempt to extend his decade-long rule.
The peaceful protests known as the “Velvet Revolution” forced Sarkisian to resign and brought Pashinian to power.