Monday, December 05, 2005

Armenian opposition leaders meet European envoys to discuss referendum

Aravot, Yerevan
3 Dec 05

Excerpt from Anna Israelyan's report by Armenian newspaper Aravot on 3 December headlined "The ambassadors are angry and surprised"

The opposition leaders met the ambassadors of all nine EU countries accredited in Armenia at the British embassy yesterday [2 December]. The main subject of discussion was the constitutional referendum and developments around it.

The leader of the Anrapetutyun [Republic] Party, Aram Sarkisyan, told us that the meeting had been initiated by the ambassadors who invited the leaders of the Armenian Democratic Party, the Anrapetutyun Party, National Democratic Union and Heritage Party.

"I should say that [Armenian President] Robert Kocharyan's voting openly was shocking," Sarkisyan said. "I asked them what they would do if their country's president voted openly? No reply," he added.

Sarkisyan said that the ambassadors of all EU countries admit that fraud was clearly committed during the referendum, and they have even more serious facts about fraud than the opposition does. They suggested handing over all facts available to the opposition to the law-enforcement agencies.

"We said that we had 125 complaints and this number will grow. The courts did not investigate these complaints during the campaign and this is one of the reasons why we declared the boycott. We also told them that the judges' representatives in the Central Election Commission signed the document which they consider exaggerated [as published]. For this reason, there is no sense to apply to them. They had nothing to reply to this," Sarkisyan said.

He also added that the ambassadors were surprised at the fact that obstacles were being created to opposition rallies and marches. [Passage omitted: minor details]

"I have met these ambassadors many times but I have never seen them so surprised and angry. They were more emotional and sometimes their statements went far beyond diplomatic norms," Sarkisyan said.

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