Armenian President says ready to meet with opposition leader
Armenian President says ready to meet with opposition leader

President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian has issued an address to Armenian citizens, voicing “deep concerns” over the increased tensions caused by the ongoing opposition rallies across the country.

The President expresses his willingness to meet with Nikol Pashinyan, the opposition MP who leads the civic campaign against the prime minister, for a political dialogue to negotiate possible steps “towards mitigating the situation”.

“The intolerance looming on the horizon has reached its peak. What deeply troubles me is the rejection [of the earlier proposal] for a political dialogue, as it might lead to a real confrontation. So my appeal to everybody is to stop for a moment, and take a sober view [to consider] the possible consequences of such a confrontation. This is not a political appeal; I address you as a parent and friend, and as an Armenian man.

“I call on everybody to demonstrate an extreme degree of patience, restraint and responsibility before taking any step, strictly observing the letter and spirit of the law not to cross the boundaries of the Armenian citizen’s rights and obligations, and the frameworks of your official competences.

“Any political demand – justified though it may sound – loses its sense once there is an imminent threat to our citizen’s health and life. Sadly enough, we have that experience; hence, we must prevent [the March 2008 post-electoral turmoil] from repeating itself.”

“[Should  violence erupt], there are will not be winners and losers; we all will suffer losses. And so will the country. We need to relax this tension. The dividing barrier must be broken to enable us to build bridges [of a dialogue] between the sides.

“Therefore, I am ready to meet with Nikol Pashinyan, a member of the National Assembly, to mitigate the existing tension through a dialogue between political forces,” reads Sarkissian’s official address.