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Armenian Oppositionist Expects Turkey-Armenia Pacts To Pass Committee

Opposition leader Armen Rustamian

Opposition leader Armen Rustamian

YEREVAN -- A senior member of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation--Dashnaktsutyun (HHD) expects the parliamentary committee he chairs to approve the protocols signed between Armenia and Turkey in October, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Armen Rustamian said in Yerevan on February 18 that "as things stand now" -- with the Foreign Relations Committee dominated by progovernment lawmakers, including representatives of President Serzh Sarkisian's Republican Party -- the committee is likely to vote in favor of the protocols.

Rustamian added that both he and the HHD oppose the protocols, which would open the two countries' border and establish diplomatic relations between Yerevan and Ankara.

Sarkisian formally submitted the two protocols to the parliament last week.

The preliminary discussion in the Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to start today. Rustamian said "this is a matter of crucial importance, and therefore the sessions could last for several days."

Rustamian also criticized the statement made by Sarkisian in London last week guaranteeing -- in his capacity as head of the parliament's majority party -- that the legislature will ratify the protocols.

Sarkisian also implied in that address that Armenia expects Turkey to ratify the protocols first.