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Armenian President Meets With Party Leaders Over Turkey Deal

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian
YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian held a five-hour meeting on September 17 with more than 50 opposition party leaders concerned about the process of rapprochement with Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Sarkisian said in his opening remarks: "Are we sacrificing our convictions and our belief in truth with these documents [on normalizing relations with Turkey?], or are we paving the way for driving them home instead of confining ourselves to secluded purity? Let us understand that together."

The closed-door meeting was part of the required "internal political consultations" that the Armenian and Turkish governments have pledged to hold before the fence-mending agreements are scheduled to be signed next month.

The Zharangutyun (Heritage) party is calling for a national referendum on the rapprochement and joined the opposition Armenian National Congress in boycotting the meeting with Sarkisian.

Zharangutyun party leader Armen Martirosian told RFE/RL that Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has announced that there won't be any changes made to the final agreement, which media reports say could be signed by Turkish and Armenian officials on October 13.

If that is the case, he asked, "what are we supposed to discuss [with Sarkisian at the meeting]?"