ARF Leaders Meet Kocharian as Government Talks Continue

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Leaders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Wednesday met for nearly two hours with President Robert Kocharian to discuss the partys presence in the new Armenian government. The meeting between Kocharian and ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian and ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamian was part of ongoing talks over the make-up of a new coalition cabinet, following the May 12 parliamentary elections. Negotiations are continuing and we have not yet reached agreement on a number of issues, Rustamian told reporters after emerging from the presidential palace in Yerevan. Rustamian refused to give details, saying only that disagreemen’s do not center on the ministerial positions offered to the ARF. At issue are the partys new proposals and approaches on how the new government should function, he said. In a Tuesday interview with RFE/RL, Markarian indicated that the ARF is seeking a greater say in the formulation of key government policies and does not want to be an appendage of Sarkisians and Republican Party, the election winner. Rustamian claimed that he and Markarian did not discuss with Kocharian the possibility of ARF support for Sarkisians participation in next years presidential election. Discussions have not yet reached that point yet, he said. There are very serious issues relating to general issues, principles. Rustamian said in that regard that his party stands by its earlier statemen’s that it will not back Sarkisian for the presidency and will nominate its own presidential candidate instead. That also means retaining our political independence, he said. That is the most important thing for any political force.

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