Standoff b/w authorities & opposition excalates further

April 8 2004


YEREVAN, APRIL 8, ARMENPRESS: In a move that is expected to raise
further the confrontation between Armenian authorities and the
opposition, leaders of the two major anti-government forces rejected
today proposals for starting a dialogue and diffuse the escalating
Stepan Demirchian, the leader of the Ardarutyun (Justice) alliance
argued that the only chance for a dialogue was the inclusion of a
motion on a national referendum on confidence in the incumbent
president on the parliament’s agenda, as was suggested by the
country’s Constitutional Court in the wake of last year’s contested
presidential election.
In a reference to parliament chairman, Arthur Baghdasarian’s
Wednesday offer to start a `dialogue’ with the opposition, Artashes
Geghamian, the leader of another major opposition party, National
Unity, said he had met with the parliament speaker “to say that we
are prepared for a dialogue on ways for transfer of power without
upheavals through a referendum.” He added that the proposal was
rejected by Baghdasarian.
Aram Sarkisian, the leader of the radical opposition Hanrapetutyun
(Republic) party, a component of the Ardarutyun bloc, welcomed the
readiness of the coalition forces for a dialogue. “This shows that
these parties are concerned with the future of the country and we
hail it,’ he said.