Armenian Church steps in amid growing unrest, clergymen take to the streets to prevent clashes
YEREVAN, APRIL 22, ARMENPRESS. Amid the growing protests in Armenia, President of Artsakh visited the country and held a meeting with Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II in Etchmiatsin.
The Catholicos and President Sahakyan expressed concern over the developments in Armenia, with Garegin II mentioning that unfortunately efforts aimed at dialogue didn’t give result and a clash took place between police and protesters.
“We are hopeful and we pray that the situation calms down quickly”, Garegin II said.
The Catholicos said that clergymen of the Mother See are involved in this process in an effort to prevent possible clashes and their consequences.
Earlier today, the meeting between Armenia’s Prime Minister and opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, leader of the ongoing demonstrations, lasted only a few minutes.
The anticipated meeting took place in the Marriott Hotel in Republic Square of Yerevan, the main rally site where every evening demonstrators gather to protest.
The Prime Minister arrived without a tie, while the opposition MP was wearing his usual t-shirt and hat.
As expected, both the Prime Minister and the lawmaker arrived at the hotel at 10:00.
The meeting was held in the presence of numerous reporters who were broadcasting live.
“I am happy that you responded to my numerous calls to talk. Although I don’t quite imagine how long we can negotiate in the presence of dozens of reporters, nevertheless I am happy”, the Prime Minister said at the beginning.
MP Nikol Pashinyan responded by saying that there is a misunderstanding and that he has come to discuss the PM’s resignation and peaceful transfer of power, rather than for dialogue.
“That’s not negotiations, that’s not a dialogue. 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 advice you to return to the legal area and overall the limits of reasonable actions. Otherwise the entire responsibility falls on you,” Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan said.
Pashinyan reacted by saying that the situation in Armenia has changed and the power has transitioned to the people.
“A 7-8% parliamentary faction doesn’t have the right to speak on behalf of the people. And I don’t want to continue this conveersaton with you anymore. If you do not accept the lawful demand of the state, goodbye,” PM Sargsyan said and walked out on the opposition lawmaker.
Before departing, the Prime Minister addressed reporters, saying : “Dear reporters, you yourselves can make conclusions”.
After the meeting, Pashinyan resumed marching in the streets of Yerevan, while many began to call for another meeting and dialogue.
English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan