Vatican Secretary of State postpones visit to Armenia


The political situation in Armenia has become unstable following post-election riots broke out between opposition leaders and government forces on Sunday. In lieu of the developments, the Vatican’s Secretary of State decided on Sunday to postpone his trip to the country.

Cardinal Bertone was due to visit the former Soviet republic March 2-6, but following the declaration of a state of emergency by President Robert Kocharian, the trip has been postponed. Hundreds of troops swarmed into Armenia's capital on Sunday to enforce a state of emergency after initial clashes between opposition activists and government forces left eight people dead and more than 100 injured.

The bloodshed over the results of last month's presidential election is the worst political crisis to hit this volatile former Soviet republic in nearly a decade.

President Robert Kocharian declared the 20-day state of emergency Saturday night after a day of violence between police and demonstrators. The protestors claim that elections which took place on Feb. 19 were fraudulently won by Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian.

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