YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—US Ambassador to Armenia, Marie Yovanovitch on Monday visited Heritage Party founder and leader Raffi Hovannisian, who has been on a huger strike for 14 days to demand snap elections in Armenia.
Hovannisian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that they discussed his health condition, the state of human rights and the overall political situation in the country. He said he reaffirmed his view that the Armenian authorities must embrace “radical solutions.”
RFE/RL reported that the ambassador’s visit was construed by Hovannisian as a call for an end to his sit-in in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. “The ambassador urged me silently, not with words,” said Hovannisian.
Asked whether the US envoy urged Hovannisian to stop the hunger strike, Heritage Party parliamentary bloc chairman, Stepan Safaryan said that ambassadors representing democratic states are well aware of the notion of civil society and realize that Raffi Hovannisian made the decision and will decide on his future actions himself. “No ambassador will make an appeal to start or stop hunger strike,” he said, reported news.am.
Hovannisian made clear that he will continue the hunger strike because the authorities have still not showed readiness to address his concerns. He downplayed “courtesy visits” to Liberty Square by parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian and other senior pro-government lawmakers, reported RFE/RL.
Hovannisian said he is still awaiting “substantive proposals” from the authorities. “If they will have something to say in the coming days or weeks, I would love to listen to them,” he said.
Asked whether he expects President Serzh Sarkisian to state that he is ready to call snap elections, Hovannisian replied, “I have no such expectation. But I am ready to listen to any word uttered in good faith and reflecting the interests of the state from any official, be it the current president or an ordinary citizen,” according to RFE/RL.
Earlier German Ambassador and EU envoy visited Raffi Hovannisian as well.