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Two major speeches – by president Serzh Sargsian and ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian, and one major silence, by founder of “Heritage” opposition party Raffi Hovhannisian defined the Armenian political landscape this week.
The statistics speak for themselves: the 835 words opening speech by Serzh Sargsian as he started the “internal political consultations” on Armenian-Turkey issues with 52 political parties out of 64 invited on September 17th, was mostly an acknowledgement, that Serzh Sargsian is seeing dangers and risks on the way of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations but is willing to keep trying nevertheless. Right! Veeeeeeeeeery helpful! RFE/RL has more (AM/EN)
“I too see risks, I too have concerns,” Sarkisian said in his opening remarks publicized by the presidential press service. He nonetheless defended Armenia’s dramatic rapprochement with Turkey that began shortly after he took office in April last year.
“Let us judge together,” continued Sarkisian. “Are we sacrificing our convictions and our belief in truth with these documents, or we are paving the way for driving them home instead of confining ourselves to secluded purity? Let us understand that together.” Link
Main opposition leader, former president Levon Ter-Petrosian spoke at the rally staged by his Armenian National Congress for over 1 hour. He said 5034 words at least. Blasted off the economic policy, democratic record of the authorities as a warm up. Then he got into Armenian-Turkish relations.
They key message was – it’s gone out of hand, and Armenia is forced to go with the flow and see what happens. Serzh Sargsian has no choice but to continue pursuing his football diplomacy, which includes visiting Turkey on October 14th to watch the World Cup qualifying game between Armenian and Turkish national football leagues.
While reiterating his earlier allegations that Sarkisian was “fooled” into making concessions to the Turks, Ter-Petrosian, unlike most of his close associates, stopped short of explicitly denouncing the draft protocols made public on August 31. He stood by the HAK’s September 1 statement that said the deal marked “substantial progress” towards the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states and reopening of their border. Link
Furthermore, Ter-Petrosian criticized the current process of Karabakh regulation, casting doubts over the claims by Armenian authorities, that the current peace process put forward by U.S., Russian and French mediators secures international security guarantees for Karabakh, allows for a corridor linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh and forsees a future determination of the final legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh through a legally binding expression of will.
All too vague, Ter-Petrosian said, basing most of his criticism on lack of clarity and claiming ‘his’ variant of Karabakh resolution – “The phased variant of 1997” was much more favorable for the Armenian side than the existing solution “just because it clearly guaranteed the deployment of international peacekeeping forces [around Karabakh] and said nothing about the return of Azerbaijani refugees to Karabakh proper,” he said.
Karabakh is in danger, the opposition leader concluded, but “the Armenian National Congress is unable to solve that issue single-handedly, no matter how unpleasant that may sound”, so his Congress will be waiting for “the activation of other Armenian political forces and even temporarily ceding the arena to them” Link.
Yep. Veeeeeeeeeery helpful!
Raffi Hovhannisian finally announced the date of his press conference, which is supposed to explain the recent developments in his “Heritage” party, which were scandalous – at least, and highly damaging for his party for the most part. The leader of the opposition party will speek on October 1st. Meanwhile, he’ll keep silent, and a major silence it is at that.
Hovhannisian turned in his decision to quit the parliament on September 2nd. None of the senior politicians in his party could explain why. They didn’t appear to be on the know for the most part. On September 9th, came the scandal: several senior members of the party were expelled why the party leader, Raffi Hovhannisian was away (Read more here AM/EN), contradicting voices and mutual allegations from different camps in the party were heard. Raffi Hovhannisian kept silent, he was away from the country, they said.
So it takes Hovhannisian about a month of silence to think of a way to explain himself, and about 20 days to react to a major scandal.
Right! Veeeeeeery helpful!