Armenian defence minister rejects talks with opposition

Armenian defence minister rejects talks with opposition

Public Television of Armenia, Yerevan
31 Mar 04

[Presenter] Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisyan has described the current
situation in the country as rather strained. He denied the rumours
that he is gathering mercenary groups to reduce tension, calling them
a fairy tale.

[Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, captioned] All those rumours and
tales that the Defence Ministry and defence minister are gathering
mercenary groups are the results of a diseased imagination and are
spread by people who have no idea about the country’s national

One person is speaking in terms of ultimatums to the leadership and
openly says that there will be bloody clashes. [One of the leaders of
the National Democratic bloc, MP Arshak Sadoyan, said on 31 March that
the people should resort to civil disobedience if a referendum on
confidence in the president is not held by 16 April.] I think that the
law-enforcement bodies have to do something. This is not the first
time that Arshak Sadoyan has called for bloody clashes. But let Arshak
Sadoyan remember 1996, when there was bloodshed where he was. If this
time Arshak Sadoyan organizes bloody clashes, he will hide in the
garages, I do not hide anywhere. What can I say?

[Correspondent] Speaking about the negotiations with the opposition,
Serzh Sarkisyan stressed that there is no point holding negotiations
with the opposition when they repeatedly announce the illegitimacy of
the country’s leadership.

[Serzh Sarkisyan] Negotiations demand a resolution of problems. Let us
imagine that a miracle has taken place and the authorities have been
changed in Armenia by force. Then there will be new elections. Many
candidates will be nominated for the presidential post. The losing
side will again stage rallies and declare the elections unfair.

You know, when a person is sick with the disease of wanting to be
president, this person is dangerous, dangerous at all times, and this
man can lead the country to disaster.

Nune Aleksanyan, “Aylur”.