by Ashot Safaryan
"The fact that Armenia's parliamentary majority rejected the opposition's offer to set up an interim gas commission was dictated by the need to display a balanced approach to that problem", David Harutyunyan, Head of the Armenian Parliamentary Commission for State and Legal Affairs, said on Monday when presenting the proposal of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) to set up a similar gas commission.
"We wanted to avoid speculations. We agreed with the content of the opposition's proposal but disagreed with the motivation. In addition, we decided to touch on a wider spectrum of issues", he said.
Naira Zohrabyan, Secretary of the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) Faction, disagreed with Harutyunyan. She thinks that the RPA's proposal may just well be considered populism. Zohrabyan pointed out that the PAP's participation in the commission's activities depends on when the commission intends to come out with the final conclusion. "We think that the conclusion must be made before the Parliament's spring session is over", she said. Harutyunyan expressed his readiness to hear the opinion of all factions.
To note, the gas agreements with Russia, particularly, the rise in gas tariffs for Armenia's citizens and the sale of Armenia's 20% stake in ArmRusgasprom to Russia have caused indignation of the Armenian public. As a result, the opposition forces of the Parliament decided to set up an interim commission to study the current situation. The ruling coalition rejected the opposition's suggestion but later made a similar suggestion.