Government Opposition Continue Negotiations

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Senior representatives of the Armenian government and the opposition held another meeting on Monday–without substantive discussions–but agreeing instead on a new format of their talks.

The two sides seem to have discarded a 30-point agenda of their talks tentatively approved by their leaders last week–instead deciding to upgrade the status to "negotiations" after the parliamentary leaders of the three parties of the coalition informed the opposition that they have been authorized by President Robert Kocharian to discuss possible solutions to Armenia’s political crisis.

The negotiations between the coalition parties and the Artarutyun (Justice) and the National Unity Party (AMK) are due to formally get underway on Thursday–the day before the next opposition rally in Yerevan. The two sides have to finalize their agenda in the next two days.

Artarutyun and the AMK announced on Tuesday a 10-day suspension of their campaign of street times to give the authorities time to address those deman’s. One of their leaders–Albert Bazeyan–was skeptical on Sunday about chances of ending the standoff through negotiations.

"The Council of Europe expected the opposition to freeze some processes so that we could organize discussions with government bodies on ways of bringing the country out of crisis," Bazeyan said. "But we see no reciprocal steps by the authorities and our rallies and marches will most probably resume on May 14 with much greater vigor."

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