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Mediator: Armenian police ready to do their best to settle situation in Yerevan peacefully

July 24, 19:51 UTC+3 YEREVAN
Major General Vitaly Balasanyan called on the members of the armed group "to be reasonable and until it is too late to fulfil the requirement of the Armenian constitution and laws"
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© Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, July 24. /TASS/. Armenian law enforcers will use all possible means to settle the situation around hostage taking at a police regiment in Yerevan peacefully, Major General Vitaly Balasanyan, a mediator in the talks with the armed group holding hostages, said on Sunday.

"Being guided by the call of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, law enforcers are ready to use all possible means to settle the situation peacefully," he said and called on the members of the armed group "to be reasonable and until it is too late to fulfil the requirement of the Armenian constitution and laws."

During the small hours of July 17, armed extremists riding on a truck, rammed through the gates of a Yerevan police precinct, subsequently storming the premises. In the ensuing shootout, deputy commander of the regiment Colonel Artur Vanoyan was killed, while some of the assailants and some policemen sustained injuries.

In the chaos that followed, the assailants managed to abduct police officers and law enforcement officials who arrived at the scene for negotiations. Among those kidnapped were two senior police officials, Major General Vartan Yegiazaryan, Armenia’s deputy police chief, and Colonel Valery Osipyan, Yerevan’s deputy police chief. They were released only on Saturday.

For several days, radical opposition members have been rallying near the police station, demanding that the authorities refrain from carrying out a military operation to free the hostages and neutralize the armed group.

On Wednesday night, police and protesters clashed leaving 51 people, with 29 police officers among them, injured. At dawn the police troops dispersed the crowd, detaining 136 opposition activists.

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