Kocharian Will Not Extend State of Emergency, Says Presidential Spokesman

YEREVAN (Combined)–The state of emergency established in Armenia on March 1 has not been violated and will not be extended beyond Thursday, Armenian Presidential Spokesman Viktor Soghomonian told a press conference on Monday.
According to Soghomonian, the restrictions on the media were only temporary and have been considerably eased since the president’s decree was made.
Soghomonian also commented on US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mathew Bryza’s condemnation of the Armenian authorities last week. The presidential aid told reporters that Bryza’s remarks came as a shock.
The American diplomats harsh criticism of the government’s handling of the post-election situation in Armenia was contrary to what he told President Robert Kocharian during private talks days before, Soghomonian explained.
"We defend democracy and we do not endanger the democratic values," Viktor Soghomonian stressed.
In other related news, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian and his opposition allies met Monday to discuss their course of action following an end to emergency rule Thursday.
Ter-Petrosian’s office said the former president will continue to strive for regime change in Armenia by "legal and democratic means."
His office also said that participants of the weekend meeting reaffirmed their determination "to fight against the kleptocratic system."
"All leaders of the [pro-Ter-Petrosian opposition] parties noted that the public is determined to get rid of the current authorities by legal and democratic means," it said in a short statement. No further details were reported.
Soghomonian also discussed with reporters last week’s developmen’s in the United Nations.

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