Kocharian ‘Concerned’ About Situation After Aide’s Arrest

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian met on Friday with the leadership of the People’s Party of Armenia–one of the two components of the ruling Miasnutyun bloc–to seek its cooperation in ending continuing squabbles in the government–party officials said.

"The president of the republic expressed concerns over the existing situation," said Gagik Aslanian–a senior People’s Party member and deputy speaker of parliament.

The meeting was Kocharian’s first contact with a major political party after the embarrassing arrest on Wednesday of Aleksan Harutiunian–his foreign adviser and former chief of staff. Harutiunian is suspected of involvement in the October 27 assassinations in parliament. Some local observers say that the aide’s arrest was the latest in a series of challenges from Kocharian’s powerful opponents in the Yerkrapah Union of Karabakh war veterans who control much of Armenia’s government. Yerkapah’s political wing–the Republican Party of Armenia is the People’s Party’s partner in the Miasnutyun alliance.

"We believe that there has to be a dialogue between the opposing sides," Aslanian told RFE/RL–in an indirect indication that Harutiunian’s arrest has had political implications. Aslanian said "all problems can be overcome by negotiations."

The Republicans Party’s governing board will meet on Saturday to discuss the continuing political fallout from the killings. Republican Party chairman Andranik Markarian on Friday denied speculation that the likely prosecution of the presidential adviser is politically motivated. He told RFE/RL that the investigators must be able to "check the credibility of their suspicions."

The military prosecutor’s office so far has not filed any petition with the court regarding the detention of presidential adviser Aleksan Harutiunian–who is suspected in connection with the October 27 events–chief of the investigations department of the Military Prosecutor’s Office–head of the investigating team Artak Haroutiunian told journalists.

He did not specify when the Military Prosecutor’s Office intends to apply to the court for Haroutiunian’s arrest. He noted that a person can be detained for 96 hours until a decision is made. Haroutiunian’s 96 hours will expire on Sunday evening.

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