Acting Armenian PM rejects talks with opposition leader

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Acting Armenian PM rejects talks with opposition leader

YEREVAN (Reuters) – Armenia’s acting prime minister, Karen Karapetyan, has rejected a proposal by opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan to hold talks on Friday as anti-government protests continue to rock the country.

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan (C) takes part in a procession while protesting against the ruling elite during a rally in Yerevan, Armenia April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Armenia, a close ally of Russia, faces a crisis after two weeks of protests against the ruling elite led to the resignation of Serzh Sarksyan as prime minister on Monday.

Protesters have not stopped at Sarksyan’s resignation, making clear they consider the whole government tainted by his drive to shift power to the premier from the president.

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“The acting prime minister considers taking part in ‘talks’ that have no chance of finding a solution to be useless,” Karapetyan’s press service said in a statement.

Pashinyan, who has led the demonstrations, said earlier on Friday he had met President Armen Sarkissian to discuss a political solution.

Protesters have called for Pashinyan, a former journalist turned lawmaker, to become Armenia’s new interim prime minister and for him to organize fresh parliamentary elections.

Reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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