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The European Armenian Federation welcomes the European Union’s efforts for political dialogue
Brussels (Belgium) – President Robert Kocharian has declared a State of Emergency on March 1st, forbidding any kind of gathering for 20 days in Yerevan. This decision was made to end the continuous demonstrations by a part of the opposition led by Levon Ter Petrossian, rejecting the victory of Prime Minister Serge Sarkissian in the presidential elections.
Observers from OSCE, Council of Europe, EU reported that the electoral process was administered mostly in line with international commitments and standards. The defeated candidate Levon Ter Petrossian however succeeded in keeping his supporters on the streets.
In the early hours of Saturday March 1st, riot police forces surrounded the demonstrators, who had spent the night in Freedom Square, using heavy force to disperse them. What followed was a day of violence, heavy clashes and looting, which resulted in the death of 8 people and injuring 135.
The ARF Tashnagtsutiun party and its candidate Vahan Hovhannisian, before the start of the post electoral violence, called for calm, insisting that government and opposition start a dialogue in a constructive spirit and national consensus.
«We express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these dramatic and regrettable events. All parties involved have to cooperate to enforce the functioning of democracy and the institutions of the State and to assist the government and the population in their efforts to finding a long term solution for the country» declared Hilda Tchoboian, chairperson of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy.

The events and the decision of president Kocharian concerned the international community. The United States and the European Union have called on both the government and the opposition for moderation. Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy spoke with President Robert Kocharian on the phone. In the call, Mr. Solana expressed his concern about the situation in Armenia: "I call upon all parties to exercise restraint so as to facilitate a quick return to normality. Dialogue with the opposition should be resumed as it is the only way forward. I have also asked my Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, to go to Yerevan on my behalf and to meet with all parties."
« We welcome the European Union’s efforts, especially Mr Solana and Mr Semneby for their sincere commitment in assisting Armenia to overcome this current tension. We support all efforts, hoping they will contribute in the rapid normalisation of the situation, respecting the Rule of Law and Human Rights» concluded Hilda Tchoboian.
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