Kocharian Meets Party Leaders On Recent Events

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian and leaders of Armenia’s main political parties discussed foreign policy and economic issues but skirted domestic political affairs at a meeting on Friday–the first in its kind.

Leaders of the parties represented in parliament said they were mainly briefed by and exchanged views with Kocharian on his recent visits abroad. "It is very important for the parliament parties to have first-hand information about activities of the head of state–instead of relying on newspapers," Sergo Yeritsian of the Country of Law party told RFE/RL.

The meeting marked the "beginning of a dialogue between political forces and the president," he said.

The chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s faction in parliament–David Lokian–praised Kocharian for the "good initiative."We agreed that such meetings will periodically be held on major issues," Lokian said. Both the ARF and COL are believed to be loyal to the Armenian president.

The political situation in Armenia–which has been characterized by uncertainty since the parliament killings–was not discussed–the participants said.

Calls for Kocharian’s resignation–first made in the wake of the killings–were last month endorsed by some opposition parties. Vazgen Manoukian–chairman of the opposition National Democratic Union who urged fresh presidential elections on January 19–said he did not raise the issue on Friday. Manoukian said he held a separate meeting with Kocharian after January 19–but refused to elaborate.

Kocharian has tried to keep a high profile in the last few month–in an effort to offset inroads on his positions.

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