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Former Armenian Presidents Hold Crisis Talks


Armenia - Former Presidents Serzh Sarkissian, Robert Kocharian and Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Former Presidents Levon Ter-Petrosian, Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian met late on Thursday to discuss grave security challenges facing Armenia.

The meeting was hosted by Catholicos Garegin II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, at his headquarters in Echmiadzin. Two former presidents of Nagorno-Karabakh, Bako Sahakian and Arkadi Ghukasian, also attended it.

In a statement, the church’s Mother See said that the participants of the meeting discussed “the situation in Armenia.”

“It was decided to continue meetings,” the statement said without giving details.

None of the ex-presidents or their offices made public statements immediately after their rare trilateral encounter.

Ishkhan Saghatelian, an opposition leader, called for such crisis talks on September 13 the day after Azerbaijani forces reportedly attacked various sections of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan. He said Ter-Petrosian, Kocharian and Sarkisian as well as Garegin and other “influential figures” should jointly explore ways of “getting the country out of this situation.”

Saghatelian is a leading member of the main opposition Hayastan alliance headed by Kocharian.

Ter-Petrosian held a separate meeting with Garegin on September 18. He received Arayik Harutiunian, the current Karabakh president, in his Yerevan residence two days later.

Ter-Petrosian, Kocharian and Sarkisian, who have long had uneasy relations with each other, previously met in October 2020 during the Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Karabakh. They discussed jointly seeking greater international -- and in particular Russian -- support for Armenia. The initiative did not translate into concrete action because of what they described as a lack of cooperation by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

Also, in the run-up to the June 2021 parliamentary elections, Ter-Petrosian proposed that the three ex-presidents set up an electoral alliance to oust Pashinian and then immediately retire from politics. Kocharian reportedly rejected the idea.

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