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U.S. Ambassador Meets With Armenian Opposition Leader Ter-Petrossian

Armenian opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian
Armenian opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian
YEREVAN -- U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch has met with opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Turkish-Armenian relations, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Ter-Petrossian's Armenian National Congress (HAK) said in a statement that at the meeting on July 30 Ter-Petrossian also "raised issues related to the release of political prisoners, the restoration of democracy, fight against corruption, and economic development."

The opposition bloc gave no further details of the discussion, which was also attended by a U.S. State Department analyst. The U.S. Embassy in Armenia did not issue any statement about the talks.

The meeting came almost two weeks after Ter-Petrossian's latest public speech in which he said Armenia's long-term security and prosperity is contingent on a resolution of the Karabakh situation and normal relations with Turkey.

Ter-Petrossian earned plaudits in the West when he pushed the same message during the final months of his 1991-98 presidency. But Western powers -- the United States in particular -- reacted coolly to his 2007 return to active politics and participation in the February 2008 presidential election.

Ter-Petrossian has repeatedly accused Western countries of turning a blind eye on the alleged rigging of that election and the government's postelection crackdown on the opposition.

He has cited President Serzh Sarkisian's Western-backed policy of rapprochement with Turkey and what Ter-Petrossian says is the president's readiness to make major concessions to Azerbaijan as the main reasons for the West's indifference.

The Russian Regnum news agency reported earlier this week that Yovanovitch is now "actively lobbying" for a far-reaching dialogue between Ter-Petrossian and Sarkisian. Figures close to both men have dismissed the claim.