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Armenia: President Holds Talks With Leading Politicians

Yerevan, 29 October 1999 (RFE/RL) - Armenia's president today opened talks with leading politicians to discuss the initial phases of forming a new government. The talks come as a three-day period of mourning begins for the prime minister and several other government officials who were assassinated Wednesday in the parliament building.

Former prime minister Armen Darbinyan and former parliamentary speaker Khosrov Arutyunian are considered top candidates for the post of prime minister. No decision is expected until after the funerals for the victims are held on Sunday. President Robert Kocharian has temporarily assumed prime ministerial duties.

Kocharian still has not made public his decision whether or not to accept the resignation of Interior Minister Suren Abramyan. Abramyan handed in his resignation today after Armenia's Defense Ministry yesterday demanded the resignations of key security officials.