Coalition Joint Statement Calls on Opposition to Enter Into Dialogue

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Armenia’s parliamentary coalition again called on opposition parties to enter into dialogue with them. The Republican Party of Armenia–the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–and the "Orinats Yerkir" party also pointed out in their joint statement that they had frequently forewarned the opposition about the dangers of outright confrontation.

The further escalation of already-high tensions eventually led on Tuesday to the forcible dispersion by police of an opposition rally in the center of the city–and the temporary detention of several leading opposition activists and scores of demonstrators.

The coalition statement–issued at a press conference–was read by the head of the ARF’s bloc in Parliament Levon Mkrtchian–who enumerated key issues around which cooperation between the opposition and the authorities could aid in Armenia’s development.

Discussing the Tuesday events–the head of the Republican Party parliamentary bloc Galust Sahakian–said–"If illegal operations were carried out that are criminally punishable–the subsequent investigation will–in the light of objective evidence–reveal the circumstances."

He was responding to reporters’ questions citing opposition statemen’s that it is possible to speak about dialogue only after those responsible for the events that transpired on April 13 have been punished.

Regarding the resumption of opposition rallies–Sahakian said that the opposition can both hold rallies and enter into dialogue.

The full text of the joint statement by the coalition parties follows.

The intolerant and extreme posture current in the political realm–the approach of setting a priori unacceptable preconditions for dialogue–heightened tension and consequently resulted in open confrontation.

The accepted way and civilized means of resolving the fundamental problems of the country–intended to secure the prospect of jointly and effectively resolving the vital issues of concern to the people–were supplanted by the shortsighted modus operandi of continuous confrontation–which presents a serious danger to society and causes rifts in the people.

The parties constituting the political coalition–through their formal statemen’s and offers of dialogue–have repeatedly warned of the undesirable consequences of such developmen’s.

The unfortunate clash of April 12-13 and the incidents that followed it–once again prove that it is society as a whole that reaps the destructive consequences of confrontation and clashes.

The modus operandi of ruling out dialogue would further diminish [1] the influence of political forces in resolving the problematic situation as well as [2] the likelihood of finding political solutions–thereby relegating the process to the legal arena–where only the letter and spirit of the law operate.

Based on the conviction that there is no alternative to dialogue and that dialogue should never be rendered obsolete–the political coalition–rising above the accusations leveled against it–once again proposes and puts forth those issues–the resolution of which together with the opposition could ensure real progress in the country and the deepening of democratic reforms–without splitting society into winners and losers:

1. Defining the parameters of adopting key constitutional amendmen’s through consensus

2. Defining the parameters of adopting–through consensus–amendmen’s to the Election Code fully in line with international standards

3. Formulating the ways in which the opposition can actively participate in the anti- corruption campaign

4. The implementation–through a clear timetable–of obligations assumed before the Council of Europe

The political coalition is willing to examine–during the dialogue–the possibility of including on the agenda–at the opposition’s suggestion–other fundamental issues that confront our country.

Arriving at an agreement would bring about a new state of affairs in the country and create the potential to resolve the problems that have accumulated.

With this proposal–the political coalition invites the political forces representing the opposition to begin–at any time–in the National Assembly–the political process of dialogue.

Republican Party of Armenia

Armenian Revolutionary Federation

Orinats Yerkir Party

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