YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian have met for the first time in years to discuss challenges facing Armenia.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday, the Armenian government said the meeting took place in Pashinian’s state-owned residence in Yerevan on Monday.
“The first president [Ter-Petrosian] expressed his views regarding ways of overcoming a number of challenges facing Armenia,” it said. “Issues pertaining to foreign policy and the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict were discussed.”
“The meeting took place at Levon Ter-Petrosian’s initiative,” it added.
No further details were reported. Ter-Petrosian’s office issued no statements on the meeting as of Tuesday afternoon.
Pashinian played a prominent role in Ter-Petrosian’s broad-based opposition movement that nearly brought the latter back to power in a disputed presidential election held in February 2008. Pashinian was one of the most influential speakers at the ex-president’s anti-government rallies held at the time. He spent about two years in prison on charges stemming from a post-election government crackdown on the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition.
Pashinian fell out with Ter-Petrosian after being released from prison in 2011. Accordingly, his relationship with Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) opposition party became very strained. As recently as in February, the HAK’s deputy chairman, Levon Zurabian, scoffed at Pashinian’s plans to try to stop then President Serzh Sarkisian from extending his decade-long rule.
Even so, the HAK voiced support for the Pashinian-led movement as it gained momentum in mid-April. It demanded Pashinian’s immediate release when he was detained on April 22, the day before Sarkisian decided to resign as prime minister.
Ter-Petrosian, 73, issued different written statements during the unprecedented mass protests that practically paralyzed the country in late April and early May. The day before Pashinian was elected prime minister on May 8, he warned the protest leaders against taking “unconstitutional steps.”
But on May 17, Ter-Petrosian, who served as Armenia’s first president from 1991-1998, expressed serious concern at street closures, blockades of government buildings, strikes and other disruptive actions which continued even after the dramatic regime change. He said they could help Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) “sabotage” the work of Pashinian’s government.