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Armenian Ruling Party Raises Concerns About Rapprochement With Turkey

YEREVAN -- Senior members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) have expressed concern to President Serzh Sarkisian about the ongoing Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reports.

Sarkisian, who is also the HHK's chairman, met with members of the party's board to discuss the conciliatory policy on Turkey that has earned him praise in the West but has been criticized by many in Armenia and among its large diaspora.

Samvel Nikoyan, a senior HHK member and deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, said board members questioned Sarkisian about aspects of the policy.

Nikoyan told RFE/RL that "Of course, there are people who have concerns. Everyone, including myself, has concerns. Sarkisian has himself acknowledged that his fence-mending talks with Turkey are fraught with pitfalls, but he believes that Armenia should continue them and demonstrate to the rest of the world that it is committed to peace with its historical foe."

Sarkisian will begin a tour of the United States, France, Russia, and Lebanon on October 1 with plans to explain his policy to the many ethnic Armenians living in those countries.

The two opposition parties represented in parliament, Dashnaktsutyun and Zharangutyun, also said that they will join forces to try and block the ratification. They control 23 of the 131 seats in parliament.