ARF Leader says Tsarukian and Sarkisan have “made up”
YEREVAN—The Prosperous Armenia Party announced Wednesday that the rally scheduled to take place on Feb. 20 at Yerevan’s Liberty Square has been canceled after its leader Gagik Tsarukian and President Serzh Sarkisian held a meeting mediated by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation on Tuesday to discuss a public standoff between the two leaders that escalated domestic political tensions.
“Taking into consideration the extremely tense and emotional condition in [our] society, and to avoid potential provocations and clashes, the Political Council of the Prosperous Armenia Party has decided to cancel the Feb. 20 protest rally. As a result of political consolidation, we will—through all legal avenues—find political solutions, in order to come out of this situation and protect the interests of society,” read a statement issued by the Prosperous Armenia Party.
Tsarukian also issued a short statement. “I cherish the life and pride of each of our citizens. No objective can justify the shedding of even one person’s blood… All issues must be resolved peacefully, legally and through political avenues,” it read.
The scheduled rally was to have been held with the Armenian National Congress and the Heritage Party. Soon after these announcements, Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovanissian told reporters that his party would still hold a rally on Feb. 20, as originally planned.
“The fight is on… these are my words,” Hovanissian told reporters, “Today, we have appeared in an unprecedented political and civil situation, which demands an immediate and complete solution.”
On Feb. 12, Sarkisian criticized Tsarukian at a Republican Party of Armenia Council meeting, and announced that the PAP leader would be excluded from the National Security Council. Tsarukian responded to Sarkisian’s criticisms and called on the citizens of Armenia to “prepare for struggle.” Tsarukian also vowed to rid Armenia from what he called an “evil regime.”
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the ARF Bureau’s political representative Armen Rustamian told reporters that the two sides had “made up.”
“Whatever we have said, we have said publically. During the last two to three days we truly spared no effort and did our best to break the knot and create a situation that satisfied everyone,” said Rustamian while speaking to reporters Wednesday.
The ARF leader emphasized that the meeting between the two leaders has resulted in important changes and welcomed the results.
“We are very happy that the healthy approach has prevailed. We have a situation that is on a good footing for future steps to resolve issues that the people had,” explained Rustamian.
The ARF leader also said that if the sides continue on this path, his party would pledge to assist in the process in any capacity.
Rustamian also said that the meeting was not an end to the impasse and there were very complex and important issues that deserve discussion.
“These issues should serve as a wake-up call for all, especially the leadership [of the country],” said Rustamian who, while welcoming Tsarukian’s statement, warned that these announcements must not viewed as a loss for one side and a victory for the other.
“Either we all win or we all lose. All those [forces] who were anticipating to ‘warm their hands’ from this standoff, are going to be disappointed because it is not going to happen,” added Rustamian.
“The difference between the two sides that burned bridges, we have maintained those bridges with all sides, hence we were able to [mediate],” explained Rustamian.