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Armenian Government Negotiators 'Open' To Opposition Demands

YEREVAN -- Armenia's governing coalition has pledged to consider the demands of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) with a view to continuing the dialogue launched on July 18, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.
The HAK said on July 19 that it is ready to hold more talks with a coalition team headed by Davit Harutiunian, a senior parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).
At the same time, the HAK demanded a "neutral venue" for those talks and live coverage of them by state-controlled Armenian Public Television, or alternatively 30 minutes of free airtime after every round of negotiations.
The opposition bloc said the authorities must also lift a "ban" on television advertisements for HAK rallies and tell police to stop harassing opposition activists ahead of those protests.
Speaking to RFE/RL, Harutiunian said on July 20 that he and his team are ready to discuss those demands with HAK negotiators. He said he has no problem with changing the venue of future meetings.
Vartan Bostanjian, another member of Harutiunian's team who represents the Prosperous Armenia Party, backed the idea of live coverage of the dialogue.
Gagik Minasian, a senior HHK lawmaker participating in the talks, said on July 20 they could lay the groundwork for a new, more democratic political culture in Armenia.
He claimed that no other former Soviet republic has yet succeeded in creating such a political environment.

No date has yet been set for the second round of talks.