Friday, March 14, 2008

Armenia: Sarkisyan - I will if he will

“I will change my attitudes if Levon Ter-Petrosyan changes his,” the newly elected president of Armenia, acting prime minister Serzh Sarkisyan has stated while commenting on the possibility of establishing dialog with the opposition headed by ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Answering Armenian citizens' questions on TV live broadcast on March 13, the prime minister has stated that he has never been against dialog, especially if a dialog is personally addressed. “If Levon Ter-Petrosyan continues to repeat that he is a president who has received 65% of votes, fails to admit the Constitutional Court decision, and speak of me as a bandit, Mongol-Tatar, then what dialog are we talking about?” Sarkisyan stressed that as early as on March 2, the authorities started to negotiate with all forces willing to establish dialog.

Earlier, president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan stated that a chance to establish dialog was missed, of which he blamed opposition. Kocharyan's press secretary also said that he did not see a way to establish dialog. At the same time, a number of international organizations, the EU and the USA have called for dialog between the authorities and opposition for the sake of maintaining security and further development of Armenia.

In the presidential election held in Armenia on February 19, prime minister Serzh Sarkisyan was elected head of state. According to official CEC data, he received 52.82% of ballots. Opposition candidate Ter-Petrosyan followed him with 21.5% of votes.

Radical opposition headed by Levon Ter-Petrosyan organized protest rallies, demanding that new election be held. On March 1, in a clash of a protesters with the police, eight people were killed, according to official data. The riot has been stopped after a state of emergency was declared in Yerevan.

Constitutional Court of Armenia has confirmed victory of the governmental candidate Serzh Sarkisyan.

Republished with permission REGNUM News Agency