From ‘Political Pensioner’ to ‘Statesman’: RPA praises ex-prez’s behavior amid Karabakh crisis

Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Bako Sahakyan (Screenshot: artsakh.tv )

“A manifestation of outstanding statesmanship.” This is how ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s behavior after the April aggression of Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh has been described by Deputy Parliament Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov, who is also a spokesperson for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA).

Sharmazanov, who once called the opposition leader a “political pensioner”, commented on Ter-Petrosyan’s latest trip to Nagorno-Karabakh where he met with the second Armenian republic’s leadership on Tuesday.

Talking to Aysor.am, he highly evaluated Ter-Petrosyan’s meetings with both Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakyan, as well as the ex-president’s public statements.

Eduard Sharmazanov (Photo: Photolure)
Eduard Sharmazanov (Photo: Photolure)

“The former president said now is not the time to throw stones, one needs to unite around the government and the president. In terms of domestic politics, this was a signal to some hysterical anti-national forces that are trying to fish in troubled waters. In terms of foreign policy, this was a message that no one should think that in the current situation around Artsakh even such a radical opposition force as the Armenian National Congress that is led by Levon Ter-Petrosyan can be guided not by the interests of the State but by interests of political gains,” Sharmazanov said.

Ter-Petrosyan, who led Armenia as president in 1991-1998, after his meeting with President Sahakyan in Stepanakert praised Armenia’s and Nagorno-Karabakh’s leaderships for their response to the escalation of the conflict with Azerbaijan.

“I think that the authorities have been doing, in a calm and reserved manner, what is required by the existing situation,” he told media.

On April 9, Ter-Petrosyan also reportedly initiated a meeting with Armenia’s incumbent President Sargsyan, whose administration he has been critical of since 2008.

In an interview with the ilur.am website following that meeting Ter-Petrosyan called on the Armenian opposition to put aside its differences with the government and support it on the “diplomatic front” ahead of major talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

“Now is not the time to accuse the authorities and try to hold them accountable for mistakes and failings,” he said, in particular.