Armenia’s ex-president and current opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan believes the Karabakh war will soon shift from the battlefields to a “diplomatic front”, in which, he says, current president Serzh Sargsyan “should feel strong and have the support of the people.”
Ter-Petrosyan, who initiated a meeting with Sargsyan over the weekend to discuss the latest escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, gave an interview to the Ilur.am website, urging the Armenian opposition to put aside its differences with the current administration ahead of what he thinks will be important negotiations with Azerbaijan.
“Now is not the time to accuse the authorities and try to hold them accountable for mistakes and failings,” he said.
At the same time, Ter-Petrosyan stressed that Sargsyan and his government should also make some positive steps and “turn their face to the people” by “starting to genuinely fight against corruption, permissiveness of law-enforcement bodies, monopolies, electoral fraud and arrogance of officials.”
“You can’t disregard the opposition and the people in trouble-free times but expect their support at difficult moments,” Ter-Petrosyan said.
Ter-Petrosyan, who served as Armenia’s first president in 1991-1998, has been a bitter critic of the current administration since making an unsuccessful attempt to be reelected president in 2008 running against Sargsyan. Ten people were killed that year in post-election clashes between riot police and Ter-Petorsyan supporters who sought the annulment of a disputed vote.
Unlike Ter-Petrosyan, Sargsyan’s immediate predecessor, Robert Kocharyan, said that he did not plan to initiate a meeting with the current head of state. Speaking to Tert.am, Kocharyan said that he did not think that meetings of the current president with ex-presidents can have an impact on solutions to priority tasks.
At the peak of Karabakh clashes earlier this month, however, Kocharyan, according to his spokesman, was “in touch” with Karabakh’s current president Bako Sahakyan.
Before becoming prime minister and then president in Armenia, Kocharyan served as prime minister (1992-94) and president (1994-97) in Nagorno-Karabakh.