ARF Mediates Sarkisian-Tsarukian Meeting

President Serzh Sarkisian and Gagik Tsarukian, seen above in 2012, met Tuesday to discuss standoff

YEREVAN–The leadership of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Armenia confirmed on Tuesday the party mediated a meeting on Tuesday between President Serzh Sarkisian and Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian, who late last week publicly decelerated war on one another in unusually harsh statements, which further exacerbated the country’s domestic political situation.

The ARF, which through it s Bureau political representative Armen Rustamian on Friday called for calm and national unity, said the meeting was “beneficial” and the two sides came to a “certain understanding.”

Rustamian confirmed the meeting and indicated to that the “ice is melting.”

“We have always said that sharp differences should be smoothed out,” Rustamian said. “We are glad that the meeting has finally taken place, that there is contact and the ice is melting.”

ARF’s Supreme Council of Armenia chairman and the secretary of the party’s parliamentary faction Aghvan Vartanian said that the Sarkisian-Tsraukian meeting was “extremely important, so the situation in the country does not deteriorate.”

SInce the announcements by Sarkisian and Tsarukian last week, the PAP leader along with the leaders of the Armenian National Congress and the Heritage Party called for a massive rally, scheduled for Friday, during which the opposition leaders are expected to renew their calls for regime change.

The ARF has said given the tenor of the announcements, and the personal attacks waged by the two powerful leaders, it will not take sides and will not take part in the February 20 rally.

President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday night lashed out at Tsarukian while speaking at his Republican Party of Armenia Council meeting. The president used unusually harsh words to describe Tsarukian–also known as “Doddy Gago”—often referring to him as “stupid” and “a detriment to Armenian society.”

The president also fired Tsarukian from Armenia’s National Security Council; called on his party members, who comprise the majority in parliament, to launch an investigation into Tsarukian’s absence from National Assembly sessions (according to Sarkisian of the 145 parliamentary sessions, Tsarukian has been present to only four); tasked the prime minister to launch inquiries into Tsarukian’s financial dealings and alleged evading of “billions” in taxes; and tasked the judicial structures to begin probes into alleged criminal conduct by Tsarukian, which he said have been “common knowledge” in Armenia.

On Friday, Tsarukian called on the citizens of Armenia to mobilize and take to the streets and change the current regime through early presidential elections.

“I am taking up the gauntlet and am going to fight till the victory,” said Tsarukian at an emergency meeting with senior PAP officials. “A new situation has surfaced since yesterday and it requires a solution. I believe that the only solution is a complete regime change through early presidential elections,”

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