Citing the deepening political crisis in Armenia, President Armen Sarkissian on Wednesday invited Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the leaders of the parties represented in parliament and the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement representatives to a meeting to untangle the impasse and explore mutually acceptable solutions.
The president’s press service said that the meeting will take place at noon on March 13.
The domestic political situation was further exacerbated earlier on Wednesday when Pashinyan used his executive powers to remove the Chief of Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Colonel-General Onik Gasparyan from his position, as Sarkissian sent the matter for legal clarification to the Constitutional Court.
Pashinyan had called for Gasparyan’s resignation after the latter, on February 25, joined by Armenia’s top military brass, called for the prime minister’s resignation. Sarkissian refused to sign Pashinyan’s two requests, opting instead to seek a legal solution to the impasse. The opposition Homeland Salvation Movement endorsed Gasparyan’s statement, while one of the main opposition forces represented in parliament urged Pashinyan to not fire the army leader.
After the events of February 25, Sarkissian met with all the aforementioned forces separately to address the crisis.
“The political crisis continues in the country and the situation remains tense. This can lead to unpredictable and irreversible consequences for our country and state,” said Sarkissian in an announcement on Wednesday. “There are numerous problems, which require urgent and structural changes for solving them, including Constitutional and legislative changes.”
“Both the authorities and parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forces have expressed their positions several times. But there is no mutual understanding or desire to take steps to come together, while pleas for intolerance have become more frequent,” said Sarkissian.
“In the existing situation, my only goal was and remains keeping the country away from shocks and preventing the creation of situations that can lead to unpredictable consequences.
Resolving the situation is an urgent imperative stemming from the interest of the state and the people,” stressed the president.
“Guided by national interests, I invite the Prime Minister of the Republic, heads of parliamentary groups and the Homeland Salvation Movement to meet at the Presidential Residence on March 13 at 12 p.m. to discuss the existing situation and find mutually acceptable solutions for overcoming the crisis,” said Sarkissian.
“I am firmly confident that negotiations and dialogue are the only way to settle disputes and disagreements, and the only path for the development of Armenia and Artsakh is the unification of the efforts and all our potential,” concluded Sarkissian.