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Armenia: U.S. Urges Reconciliation Between Government, Opposition

Washington, 23 October 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States yesterday urged the government and the opposition in Armenia to take "concrete steps" to promote reconciliation among themselves.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the United States remains committed to working with Armenia to help it build "an independent democratic and prosperous state at peace with its neighbors."

He said progress was made to improve the electoral process since the 1995 Armenian parliamentary elections, but that "irregularities in balloting and vote tabulation" in last month's presidential election remain of deep concern to the international community.

Burns said the United States urges the Armenian government to implement recommendations of international experts to address flaws and build confidence "in the integrity of Armenia's electoral process."

Burns also criticized Armenia's opposition, expressing regret that "some opposition leaders chose to express their frustration through violence" against the Armenian parliament on September 25. He said while the United States supports the rights of all Armenians to peacefully assemble and express their views, it condemns "this type of violence, which has no place in democracy and only polarizes Armenian society."