Ter Petrosian: "Clean The Augean Stable"


11 July, 2008

"I have come here to erect bridges and not to burn them. Burning
bridges is easier," said Armenia’s Prime Minister Tigran Sarkissian
while addressing the fifth conference of the Zharangutiun (Heritage)
Party on July 11.

The Armenian Premier highly appreciates the role of the only
opposition force, the Zharangutiun Party, in the country’s political
life. "The party acquires extra responsibility for its supporters,
extra-parliamentary opposition and the country," he said.

"Armenia needs a strong opposition, strong leadership, strong society
and strong country," noted Tigran Sarkissian. He reiterated Serzh
Sarkissian’s appeal made on February 26 and called for solidarity.

Tigran Sarkissian says their aim is to build up a lawful and democratic
state; therefore it is necessary to lay the stress on dividing rather
than on uniting points.

He urges not to allow the common aims to be wasted in the furnace of
disagreement and turn into a subject of political speculations. "It
is time for solidarity and cooperation," he said.

Today’s conference was attended by the leaders of the opposition,
Armenia’s Human Rights Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian and member of
the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun Bureau Hrant
Margarian, Commander of a Shushi Special Battalion Zhirair Sefilian
and many others.

Tigran Sarkissian’s speech was followed by Zhirair Sefilian’s
address. Hardly had Sefilian started when Armenia’s first President
Levon Ter-Petrossian entered the hall. He shook hands with Raffi
Hovannissian, Vardan Khachatrian, Anahit Bakshian, Zhirair Sefilian,
Tigran Sarkissian and other delegates of the conference.

In his speech Levon Ter-Petrossian viewed the role of the Zharangutiun
Party in the context of the political situation and the popular
movement. Ter-Petrossian highly appreciated the party and said without
the Zharangutiun the attainments of the popular movement both in the
pre-election and post-election periods would be modest.

He highlighted the great work carried out by the Zharangutiun with
regard to the March 1 unrest and the protection of political prisoners’
rights. "The party struggles against this bureaucratic regime on its
own," he said.

Levon Ter-Petrossian also highlighted the role of the parliament
faction of the Zharangutiun. He feels sorry that the party has to
work in a parliament where the majority are criminals, like in all
other institutions of public administration.

Ter-Petrossian’s speech was frequently interrupted by warm and loud

Then Levon Ter-Petrossian unexpectedly addressed Prime Minister Tigran
Sarkissian who was sitting in the front row. "Criminal prevails
in each institution of public administration, therefore I extend
my compassion to you because you have inherited a heavy heritage,
and it is your duty to clean out the Augean stable."

The first president also noted that Tigran Sarkissian is a professional
economist and is well aware of the problems the country faces today.

The first President also spoke of the Popular Movement and the Congress
of Supporting forces.

The Armenian PM had to listen to Ter-Petrossian’s speech to the
end. Tigran Sarkissian seemed a little confused: he could neither
leave the hall nor listen to the authorities’ misdeeds over the past
ten years. He departed immediately after Ter-Petrossian’s speech.