Vazgen Manoukian Discusses Upcoming US Visit

YEREVAN (Fact)–Opposition leader and chairman of the National Democratic Party Vazgen Manoukian addressed Armenia’s national press club Wednsday and discussed his upcoming visit to the United States–as well as his outlook regarding legal proceedings and political trial currently underway in Armenia.

He announced that he would be departing for the US Sunday–and explained that he was invited by the National Democratic Institute and its chairman Nelson Ledsky late last year and the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region.

Manoukian will spend the first four days of his US visit in Washington where he is scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders and administration officials. He will then travel to Los Angeles where he will make public appearances–including the annual Independnce Day Celeberation scheduled at 6 p.m. on June 8 at the Pasadena City College Sexson Auditorium.

In discussing the upcoming Independence Day celebration in Los Angeles–Manoukian criticized the reality that Independence Day was not marked in Armenia in an official capacity.

Manoukian added that he had one main message for the Diaspora: rally around the state and not necesseraly around Levon Ter-Petrosyan or Vazgen Manoukian.

Manoukian also discussed the on-going trials related to the events following the September presidential elections–saying that he and the defense attorneys involved in those cases agree that there can be no argument about the actual guilty parties in those cases–alluding that Armenian authorities and not the defendants facing trial were actually responsible for the civil unrest following the elections.

He praised Armenian Revolutionary Federation member Kim Balayan–currently on trial on charges of obstruction of justice and organizing public disturbance–for his composure in court.

Balayan–who has been imprisoned with no explanation–finally got his day in court Tuesday.

Manoukian also remarked about the appointment of Henrik Khatchatrian as Armenia’s new prosecutor general–saying that his predecessor–Ardavzd Gevorkian– was a very qualified individual who was corrupted in his job. He expressed hope that Khatcharian would not have the same fate.

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