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EU Urges 'Intensive Dialogue' Between Armenian Government, Opposition

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said his government is ready to talk to the opposition.
PRAGUE -- Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has urged Armenia's leadership to engage in an "intensive dialogue" with the opposition to defuse a postelection political crisis, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Schwarzenburg told Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian in Prague that such a dialogue is essential for Armenia's inclusion in the EU's Eastern Partnership program that offers six former Soviet republics much closer ties with the bloc in return for political and economic reforms.

Nalbandian said the government is ready for talks with the opposition, but it has thus far failed to display such readiness.

Schwarzenberg also mentioned that dozens of opposition members arrested following the 2008 presidential election need to be released, but Nalbandian said Armenia does not consider them to be political prisoners.

The Czech Republic is the current holder of the European Union's rotating presidency.