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Armenia: Parties Agree To Support President

Yerevan, 28 October 1999 (RFE/RL) - Armenian President Robert Kocharian and leaders of the country's main political groups agreed today to work together to stabilize the country. The political leaders met to discuss the situation after Armenia's prime minister, parliament speaker, and six other deputies and ministers were killed by gunmen in the parliament building yesterday. A statement from Kocharian said the party leaders stressed their readiness to cooperate with the president and deal jointly with the consequences of the slayings. Vazden Manukian, chairman of the opposition National Democratic Union, participated in the meeting and confirmed the president's report. Vahan Hovannisian, chairman of the nationalist Dashnaktsutyun party, told reporters that Kocharian has formed a government commission to organize the funeral of the slain officials.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said it also is backing the president. But it demanded the resignation of the country's highest law-enforcement officials.

The Defense Ministry statement says the minister of national security and other law-enforcement officials failed to ensure adequate security in the parliament building.