YEREVAN — Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan on Thursday apologized to all citizens of Armenia for spitting at an opposition activist who branded him a “traitor.””

“I’m sorry that I lost my cool because of the personal insult directed at me,” Simonian said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“Democracy implies that officials can and should be open to criticism, including provocative criticism. However, it is important to not allow personal insults to lead to a loss of temper. While I regret my reaction to the insult directed towards me, as an elected official, I understand the importance of restraint. This experience has taught me that I and my team members may face similar situations in the future, and we must be prepared to handle them with professionalism and civility.

I also believe this incident is an opportunity for the opposition to reflect on their tactics and to engage in civilized debate without resorting to personal insults. As such, I would like to apologize to all citizens of the Republic of Armenia for my outburst and reaffirm my commitment to promoting respectful and constructive political discourse in our country.” Simonyan said in a statement.

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