President Serzh Sargsyan met with his bitter critic, former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan on Saturday in order to discuss the latest escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, his press office said.
According to the report, Sargsyan visited Ter-Petrosyan’s private house in Yerevan at the latter’s initiative.
The conversation between the two reportedly lasted for about an hour. The presidential press service said that it “exclusively related to the recent developments on the Karabakh-Azerbaijani border, expected developments in the negotiation process on the Karabakh settlement process and the imperative of national consolidation to withstand those challenges.”
The opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC), which is led by Ter-Petrosyan, did not release any additional information regarding the meeting.
Ter-Petrosyan served as Armenia’s first president in 1991-1998 before stepping down admittedly over his position in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process viewed as defeatist by many critics. The 71-year-old politician attempted to stage a political comeback in 2008 when he ran for president in a disputed election that was officially won by Sargsyan and was marred by a bloody government crackdown on the Ter-Petrosyan-led opposition.
Ter-Petrosyan, who continued to criticize the Sargsyan government and push for a power change in the subsequent years, has not appeared in public since recently undergoing a cancer surgery in the United States.
At the peak of clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh early last week, the ANC’s parliamentary leader Levon Zurabyan read out to other lawmakers a message from Ter-Petrosyan, which was an excerpt from one of his 2008 addresses, in which the opposition leader stated that the opposition would leave aside all its differences with the government in the event of aggression by Azerbaijan.