The opposition Homeland Salvation Movement said Thursday that it would participate in a proposed meeting by President Armen Sarkissian if it will discuss its proposed agenda.
In an announced issued by the movement’s leadership council, the group emphasized that “the country is on the verge of a national catastrophe, the security, political, socio-economic crises are deepening, and the reasons and those responsible for it are well known.”
“The Homeland Salvation Movement reaffirms its roadmap for overcoming the crisis: the resignation of the Prime Minister, the formation of an interim government, and early parliamentary elections,” the announcement said.
Expressing its willingness to take part in political consultations, the Homeland Salvation Movement said the meeting “must be held in Armenia’s National Assembly and broadcast live.”
The movement was in response to President Sarkissian invitation on Wednesday to bring together Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the leaders of all factions represented in parliament as well as representatives of the Homeland Salvation Movement.
Pashinyan’s My Step bloc and the opposition Bright Armenian party said their leaders would take part in the meeting. The other parliamentary opposition party, Prosperous Armenia Party, which is also part of the Homeland Salvation Movement has not publicized its position on the meeting. Pashinyan, too, has not signaled whether he would attend the meeting, scheduled to take place at noon local time on Saturday.
Ishkhan Saghatelyan, the coordinator of the Homeland Salvation Movement and the chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia told reporters later on Thursday that he believes that the meeting should be accessible to the people.
He said if the meeting is designed to create photo opportunity where Pashinyan and the opposition are seen sitting around the same table, then “we will not give them the satisfaction.”
Later, in a tent on Baghramyan Avenue, Ishkhan Saghatelian, coordinator of the Homeland Salvation Movement and coordinator of the ARF Supreme Body of Armenia, gave a press conference, during which he published a statement from the Homeland Salvation Movement. He also answered journalists’ questions about the Movement’s positions and assessments.
“But if they really want to find a way out of the situation in the country, then we are ready for that meeting,” said Saghatelyan, adding that “we do not want to be part of a show.”
“It is not clear yet whether Nikol Pashinyan has accepted Armen Sarkissian’s invitation to the meeting. I don’t know whether they have an agreement or not, but we are not interested in that either,” Saghatelyan said, reaffirming that their struggle will continue.
“Nikol Pashinyan talks about the elections when the movement is gaining momentum. When the movement has less of a momentum, he says, well, there is no popular demand, there will be no election. He has often been able to influence the movement with these steps, this time he will not succeed,” explained Saghatelyan.
“The president should welcome our agenda,” said Saghatelyan. “But if Constitutional reforms, electoral laws are to be discussed at that table, then what should we say?”
The ARF leaders said that his party and the movement are interested in finding way out of the impasse, adding the country is increasingly exhausted.
He expressed doubts on whether the other parties invited to the meeting were sincere about finding solutions, or whether they were more interested in “choreographing the scene that suits them.”