March 1 is the collective tragedy of not only the relatives of the victims, but also the entire nation. The public is obliged to exert all efforts to restoring the reputation of the justice and state, said Armenian National Congress leader, first president of the Republic of Armenia (HAK) Levon Ter-Petrossian today in Liberty Square during a rally to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the violent dispersal of mass post-election protests that led to the death of 10 people.
"Let no one think that the issue of March 1 has nothing to do with him. If it goes unpunished, a repeat [of what happened] threatens everyone. HAK continues to keep this issue on the agenda and is full of determination to take this matter to the end. The HAK parliamentary faction twice took the initiative to create a commission [to investigate the events of March 1]. The third time it did so jointly with other opposition factions. HAK continues to pursue this matter also in the international arena," he said.
On issues of foreign policy, Ter-Petrossian said that Armenia's joining the Russian-led Customs Union is now irreversible, while European integration in the foreseeable future is impossible.
According to him, various political parties, ignoring this reality, might harbor vain illusions and false agendas, but there is one problem facing Armenia. "Currently Armenia is confronted with the following problem: to have a government that will be able to make the opportunities of the Customs Union serve our national interests. It's obvious that Serzh Sargsyan's administration is not that government," he said.
According to the opposition leader, Armenia's government became pro-Russian overnight, though before that it was sworn pro-European, and decided to join the Customs Union.
"Most of provincialism is explained by the fact that if before they considered that their legitimacy depended on the West, now [it depends] only on Russia. Armenia enters the Customs Union with the status of a voiceless subject. Lacking in this administration is an understanding of national interest. If it had this sense, it wouldn’t treat its own people with such disregard. To put it in the language of chess: Serzh Sargsyan is in zugzwang, when any step leads to inevitable defeat. Each day of his time in power is a loss for Armenia and Artsakh. Either he has to surrender or he will bring more trouble on Armenia’s head. It’s time for him to show [some] wisdom and resign," said Ter-Petrossian.
The HAK leader stressed that HAK is striving for complete change of power, that is, early presidential and parliamentary elections, but it realizes that it can't do that alone and the support of all political parties is necessary.
"[Other political parties], however, it seems, are more inclined toward a more milestone, stepwise solution; that is, first oblige the government's resignation and only after that think about presidential and parliamentary elections," he said, adding that HAK is prepared to collaborate in this matter, but will never be part of any government formed by Serzh Sargsyan.
Ter-Petrossian said he's not announcing the date of the next rally, waiting instead for the feedback of other political parties to the thoughts he expressed today. The HAK leader did not rule out the possibility that political parties will hold a joint rally in the near future.
Updated Mar. 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm (UTC +04:00): "To put it in the language of chess: Serzh Sargsyan is in a checkmate" changed to "To put it in the language of chess: Serzh Sargsyan is in zugzwang" as initial translation was incorrect. Please accept our apologies for the initial error.