Vazgen Sargssian Rules Out Military Dictatorship

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"There was no coup in Armenia. I think that is a wrong evaluation," Defense Minister Vazgen Sargssian told journalists on Wednesday. According to him–the manner of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation was quite constructive. "This is rather sad for me but natural," the minister said.

Commenting on Ter-Petrosyan’s speech–specifically on the suggestion that the resignation was imposed on him–Sargssian said–"One can suppose that the statement is with regard to us–but there was no pressure on our part. We were offered two options and we chose the latter." As to the "internal pressure," the minister said similar pressure had been exerted on him as well–but he did not step down.

According to Sargssian–the time which Ter-Petrosyan decided to resign came as a surprise to him. "I have been seeking common grounds with the president for the past three months. The only step I achieved on the Karabakh issue was the suggestion that the situation be frozen."

The minister claimed strong belief that the resignations would not lead to anarchy. He also ruled out any military dictatorship in Armenia–offering assurance that in the next few days that will be secured. "The power ministers didn’t give any occasion for similar suspicions during the past ten years. Our differences with the president weren’t that deep–they were purely ideological ones. I could have not been defense minister today if Ter-Petrosyan had pardoned me–I would have never left on my own. I will never going to announce my resignation," Sargssian said.

Sargssian felt that Karabakh peace negotiations will have a good outcome–Armenia will make considerable changes in its stance and have a tougher position. "We have to start negotiations from a high point," the minister said–assuring that in that case "we wouldn’t be back where we had started."

According to the Sargssian–hostilities are not likely to resume within the next two years. "The strength of our army today cannot be estimated," he suggested. Sargssian also disagreed with Ter-Petrosyan’s estimation that the party of peace had suffered a defeat. "No one is seeking peace more than we are. The best way of achieving peace is always being prepared for war," the minister said.

Addressing the forthcoming presidential elections–Sargssian said he had no intention of nominating either himself or anybody else for the post. He stressed that this election should be "absolutely fair." He expressed a desire to have all candidates sign an agreement to ensure that elections bring unity instead of discord within the nation. He also suggested that candidates to decide four-five national issues on which to have platforms. "I am sure that it can be done and it will. The forthcoming election will bring national unity," Sargssian emphasized–adding that this will become obvious from new appointmen’s. "All parties must be represented in Parliament; discussions should be brought into the Parliament rather than held on the streets," the minister concluded.


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