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Armenia’s president calls on protesters to discuss crisis settlement

June 27, 2015, 23:16 UTC+3 YEREVAN

"My dear ones, do not be afraid of taking responsibility and join the real process of drafting measures that would lower the level of suspicions among our public," Serzh Sargsyan said

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Serzh Sargsyan, president of Armenia

Serzh Sargsyan, president of Armenia

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

YEREVAN, June 27. /TASS/. Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan called on the protesters rallying against the increase of electricity fees to enter a concrete join a practical process of resolving the current crisis. The president made an appeal at a meeting with officials in charge of the energy policy on Saturday.

"Let it not come into anyone's head that there have emerged opposing camps in Armenia friends and foes, as it were over a problem of tariff rises. It’s as absurd as it’s dangerous," Sargsyan said.

"My dear ones, do not be afraid of taking responsibility and join the real process of drafting measures that would lower the level of suspicions among our public," he said. "We have had dozens of such discussions and we have never objected to taking part in them."

The Arminian president is hopeful that "at the end of the process everybody will be satisfied and understood."

"Certainly, there will be people rejecting any decisions, who are not content with anything and who disapprove of whatever outcome there is, but we are speaking not about them but about the active majority willing to settle the crisis and who will not allow anyone to use themselves for political purposes," Sargsyan said.

He asked the protesters "to stay away from putting up problems for themselves" as they participated in this significant process.

The president urged the protesters to clear Marshal Bagramian Avenue and "to help in making decisions and in strengthening confidence."

"I would like to invite some of you to engage in conversation and I hope the meeting will be convened much more easily," he said. "Loads of work lies ahead us and we together must finish this complicated process."

Sargsyan said that Armenia's government "will shoulder the burden of power tariff increases" until the end of auditing of the Armenian Power Grids distribution company.

On June 17, 2015, the Commission for Public Services and Utilities partially endorsed a request by the Armenian Power Grids electricity distributor, which is a subsidiary of Russia’s INTER RAO UES Corporation, to raise the tariffs for electricity by 16%

The first action of protest took place in central Yerevan on the same day. Its organizers felt apprehensive of a sweeping growth of commodity prices and service tariffs, which the hike of electricity fees might trigger. On June 19, similar actions took place in other cities. On June 23, the police used force while dispersing a demonstration in the capital. A total of eighteen people, including eleven police officers, were injured and 237 were detained but released soon afterwards. On June 25, Prime Minister Ovik Abramyan made public the government’s decision to pay out compensations to low-income families but actions of protest in Yerevan and other cities continued in spite of the announced compensative measures.

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