Levon Ter-Petrosian

Ter-Petrosian Wants Dialogue Between Armenian Government, Opposition


By Ruzanna Stepanian

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Former President Levon Ter-Petrosian has called on Armenia’s government and leading opposition groups to reach a consensus on how to make peace with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

In a televised interview aired late on September 26, Ter-Petrosian said the Armenian opposition should help Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accept  painful solutions” backed by the international community.

“All solutions will be bad for us,” he told Armenian Public Television. “I believe the challenge is to choose the least painful of those solutions.”

“Pashinyan is also afraid of signing such a document,” he went on. “Whatever document he signs, they will brand him a traitor, a Turk or I don’t know what. In my view, we will give Pashinyan a helping hand if we choose the least painful option. We will thereby shoulder responsibility for that variant.”

Ter-Petrosian claimed that Armenia will have to make even greater concessions if it rejects such a settlement now. He said at the same time that he does not know the exact terms of peace accords currently offered by Azerbaijan or major foreign powers. Only Pashinyan and some members of his inner circle possess such information, he said.

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The remarks came almost a week after Ter-Petrosian and two other former presidents, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, met to discuss serious security challenges facing Armenia. The meeting was hosted by Catholicos Karekin II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, at his headquarters in Echmiadzin. No concrete agreements were apparently reached by them.

Kocharyan and Sargsyan lead the two opposition groups represented in the Armenian parliament. They staged virtually daily street protests in Yerevan in May and June after Pashinyan signaled readiness to make major concessions to Azerbaijan.

“No [national] unity can be formed with the participation of Nikol Pashinyan,” Armen Ashotyan, a senior member of Sargsyan’s Republican Party (HHK), said on Monday night, commenting on Ter-Petrosian’s remarks.

Ashotyan warned that because of his “tough personal position or unbridled ambition” Ter-Petrosian risks dashing hopes raised by the rare dialogue of the three ex-presidents. The latter have long had uneasy relations with each other.

There was no immediate official reaction from Kocharyan’s Hayastan alliance.

Hayastan and the HHK demanded a parliamentary vote of no confidence in Pashinyan after he sparked on September 14 a spontaneous anti-government demonstration in Yerevan on the second day of deadly border clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.

Speaking in the parliament, the prime minister expressed readiness to sign an unpopular peace treaty with Azerbaijan “as a result of which many people will criticize, curse and declare us traitors.” He said he is ready to recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity through such a treaty if Baku withdraws its troops from Armenian border regions occupied by it.

Pashinyan’s statement fueled rumors that Yerevan will unconditionally accept Baku’s terms of the treaty, including recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh. Thousands of angry people rallied outside the parliament building in Yerevan to demand Pashinyan’s removal from power.



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