Country Mourns Prime Ministers Death

YEREVAN (Excerpted from RFE/RL)Hundreds flocked to the home of Armenia’s deceased Prime Minister Andranik Margarian on Tuesday in order to pay their last respects. Markarian died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 55. His body lay in state during a private ceremony for relatives, friends and colleagues. Visitors included Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian, other senior government officials and members of Margarians Republican Party, as well as heads of other political parties. President Robert Kocharian was expected to visit later in the day. The public will bid farewell to the Armenia premier on Wednesday when his body will be taken to Yerevans Opera House before being buried in the national Pantheon. Kocharian has declared Wednesday a day of national mourning. Meanwhile, messages of sympathy continued to pour in from foreign leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Also sending their condolences were Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose country has no diplomatic relations with Armenia. The Armenian government said Turkeys ambassador to neighboring Georgia is among foreign dignitaries who will arrive in Yerevan for Margarians funeral.

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