Kocharian, Putin Discuss Armenia Unrest, Bryza Praises Sarkisian

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza with Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian discussed the current political situation in Armenia with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putting during a phone conversation Thursday, the presidential spokesperson Viktor Soghomonian reported.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Armenian government cited Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza as commending Sarkisian for his stated readiness to engage in a dialogue with Armenia’s critical of the ruling regime.
“You are a special leader,” Bryza told Sarkisian, according to the statement. “In principle, we support you. I and the U.S. charge d’affaires in Armenia believe that you have the kind of vision and approaches that we want to see in the implementation of joint programs.”
“We want you to succeed and we want Armenia to succeed,” he said.
Speaking to the Associated Press news agency on his way to Yerevan from Baku, Bryza said the United States “deplores” Saturday’s deadly clashes in Yerevan but stopped short of criticizing the use of lethal force.
The government statement quoted Bryza as only telling Sarkisian that the emergency rule “can not continue endlessly.”
“Matthew Bryza agreed with the prime minister in that the state of emergency is really an instrument that allows to ease tensions and direct processes towards a natural course,” the statement said. “He stressed that it is impossible to move along the path of democracy unless there is law and order in the country.”
Ex-deputy prime minister John Prescott is heading a diplomatic mission aimed at defusing Armenia’s political crisis.
Prescott is visiting as a member of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, which he joined in October.
Sarkisian said on Thursday that last month’s presidential election has split Armenian society and told his cabinet members to start “dialogue” with citizens bitterly opposed to the country’s leadership.
“Spite in the society has increased, the society is divided, and in this regard I expect all of you to work actively in that direction,” he said, opening a weekly cabinet meeting, the first since Saturday’s confrontation between security forces and opposition protesters.
“You should engage in dialogue, you should argue, explain, even if your interlocutor doesn’t understand. Even if your interlocutor is blinded by hatred,” said Sarkisian.
The president-elect at the same time defended the use of force against thousands of Ter-Petrosian supporters who had been protesting the official election results on a daily basis and pledged to punish organizers of those unsanctioned protests. “Thank God, our security forces managed to find adequate solutions,” he said.
“We will make sure that all the guilty are punished,” continued Sarkisian. “I am promising this to all of you by 100 percent. This is not a promise, this is an obligation which I will fulfill.”

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