Prime Minister Sarkisian Walks Out from Meeting with Opposition Leader Pashinian
YEREVAN—Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian on Sunday walked out from a meeting with opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan saying that a political alliance that has received seven to eight percent of the votes cannot speak on behalf of the entire population.
“[A political] alliance that has won seven to eight percent of votes does not have the right to speak on behalf of the entire population and I no longer want to continue this discussion with you if you do not accept the government’s legal demands. Good bye,” said Sarkisian before walking out.
On Saturday it was announced that the two had agreed to the meeting, which took place at 10 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel on Republic Square, the main site of ongoing demonstrations—in their 9th day—by thousands who are protesting Sarkisian’s ongoing rule. The meeting was announced after President Armen Sarkissian met with Pashinian during the protest on Saturday and held a meeting with the prime minister separately.
At the beginning of the tense meeting, which lasted less than five minutes, Sarkisian said, “I am happy that you responded to my numerous calls to dialogue, .although I don’t quite imagine how long we can negotiate in the presence of dozens of reporters, nevertheless I am happy.”
Pashinyan responded by saying that there seemed to have been a misunderstanding, adding that he was there to discuss the prime minister’s resignation and a peaceful transfer of power and not to hold a dialogue.
“That’s not a negotiation, that’s not a dialogue,” said Sarkisian facing television cameras and journalists. “That is simply an ultimatum, blackmailing the state and legitimate authorities. You do not realize the degree of responsibility. You didn’t learn lessons from March 1 . And if we have to speak in that tone, then I am only left to once again advise you to return to the lawful area and act within the limits of reasonable actions. Otherwise the entire responsibility falls on you.”
Pashinyan said that neither he nor the protesters respond kindly to ultimatums, adding that the situation in Armenia has changed and the power has transitioned to the people.
Before leaving the meeting, Sarkisian turned to the reporters and said,“Dear reporters, it is up to you to make your own conclusions.”
After Sarkisian walked out, Pashinyan told reporters that the rally would continue at 7 p.m. on Sunday, only to emerge from the Marriott Hotel where hundreds of his supporters were gathered, prompting the rally and demonstration to begin, with Pashinyan leading the crowd to the Erebuni neighborhood of Yerevan.
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Link: Prime Minister Sarkisian Walks Out from Meeting with Opposition Leader Pashinian