YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian said at a meeting with university students in Yerevan Wednesday that claims of the imminent arrest of former president Levon Ter-Petrosian were untrue.
“Levon Ter-Petrosian’s fate will be primarily decided by the people, not now, because in addition to legal responsibility there is also moral responsibility, there is also historical responsibility,” he said.
“Talk of Levon Ter-Petrosian to be arrested today or tomorrow is not true. Neither are the claims that nobody will dare to arrest Levon Ter-Petrosian,” added Sarkisian.
According to Sarkisian, the organizers of March 1 unrest will be tried. The criminal case will be transparent in order to remove all doubt as to who shares the guilt for the incident, he added.
“There will be changes [in the make-up of the government] which many people do not expect,” Sarkisian said at a meeting with university students in Yerevan. “I’m not saying that I will fire everyone. But it will be the first serious step by the newly elected president of Armenia.”
It was announced on February 29 that as part of his power-sharing deal with Sarkisian, Baghdasarian will be appointed as secretary of Armenia’s largely ceremonial National Security Council.
One of the students reminded Sarkisian that Kocharian publicly accused Baghdasarian of high treason in May last year after the ex-speaker called for Western pressure on the Armenian government in a secretly recorded conversation with a British diplomat in Yerevan. “Do you think that Kocharian’s attitude towards Artur Baghdasarian can not differ from Serzh Sarkisian’s?” replied Sarkisian. “If you think so, you are wrong.”
The outgoing premier also discussed the events of March 1. He said they were wrong to clash with security forces even if the latter made “mistakes” during the dispersal earlier in the day of Ter-Petrosian’s tent camp outside the city’s Opera House.
“Even if the police made a mistake outside the Opera, nobody had the right to behave like that,” he said. “If the organizers were civilized people and cared about Armenia a little, they could calm down those people and protest in a legal way.”
Sarkisian further stated that the unrest not only tarnished Armenia’s image abroad but could complicate a near-term settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “Of course, the events of March 1 did not help the matter,” he said. “The president of Armenia will not have a strong hand because regardless of who was guilty and what happened, the international standing of our country has been dealt a blow.”