Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan returning to politics after arrest
Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian has announced his return to politics in a statement released on 16 August. His return follows his recent release from custody.
“Consider that I have definitely returned [to politics]. It may be in different formats. I can tell you about the reasons that prompted me to return to politics. Two reasons.
“The first is the geopolitical threats that I see today. Just look at the map and see which countries surround us and what kind of relations we have with them. Today, Russian-American relations are at the lowest level since the Cold War; [there are] new sanctions, [and consider] the state of US-Iranian relations.
“And look at the behavior of Turkey. This is a different state than ten years ago. They aspired to the European Union and this has limited them in terms of aggressive policies and interference in the internal affairs of their neighbours. We know about Turkey’s relations with Azerbaijan and the unresolved Karabakh conflict.
“And try to connect it all … We have a government that, in my opinion, does not understand all this. That does not have experience. That does not understand that in this situation only a powerful army is the true guarantee of our statehood.”
On 1 March, military-grade weapons were used in the dispersal of crowds. Eight civilians and two police officers were killed in the process. Kocharyan was still the president of the country at the time of these events. According to data from the Central Electoral Commission, President Serzh Sargsyan was elected. However, he had not yet taken office.
Robert Kocharian also said that he is concerned about the relations between Armenia and Russia and the rhetoric of the Armenian government regarding Moscow:
“Russia is not a country with which one can speak in the language in which the Armenian authorities speak today. This is our strategic partner, with which cooperation is very important for our security.”
Robert Kocharian also once again stated that the current authorities fabricated the lawsuit against him. He believes that what is happening with him is the elimination of political opponents. Robert Kocharian considers the decision of the court on his release a victory of his lawyers.
“This is not the case when you can say that this or that part of the charge is weak or strong. All charges were based on false, falsified, artificial evidence and conclusions,” he stated.
Kocharyan called for making the trial public and giving the public an opportunity to get acquainted with the details of the criminal case.
“Let the defending side publicly speak about everything connected with the case. You will see that the whole thing is artificial, this is a model of classical political persecution,” he said.
The former president also announced he was ready to meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan:
“Of course I’m ready to meet with him. I never avoided negotiations, I was always ready for them.”