"Hayots Ashkhar" says it was not by accident that the Minsk Group co-chairs' visit to Karabakh looks more like a sight-seeing tour than a diplomatic mission. The co-chairs clearly want to gauge the dominant mood in Karabakh by meeting with local public figures and visiting historical sites. They will then try to sell their new peace plan to the population. As for Karabakh Armenians, the paper says it is about time they "explicitly get their strong message across" to the mediators.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" also sees important implications in the fact that the mediating troika entered Karabakh from Azerbaijan. In Baku, this is seen as a good sign. The paper speculates that the upcoming new plan on Karabakh will leave the Armenian side in a disadvantaged position. "So why is Robert Kocharian so assured and self-confident? Because he knows well what to do.
Just like three years ago, he is not going to sign any peace agreements and is preparing appropriate arguments which, if necessary, will be used in Geneva." Kocharian could site lots of pretext to scuttle a solution." His strategy is to prolong the status quo.
"Azg" notes that the recent joint statement on Karabakh by the Armenian parliamentary groups is not clear-cut and gives Kocharian large room for maneuver in the peace talks. He will not have trouble persuading the public that a peace deal he has signed is in line with the main points of the statement. Political forces genuinely interested in a pro-Armenian settlement must try to tie his hands in a more assertive manner, the paper concludes.
"Yerkir" says the international and especially Western negotiators realize that an agreement signed by Kocharian and Heydar Aliev would not be implemented easily and are stepping up pressure on the two leaders to "rein in" their publics. The paper berates those Armenian parties which it thinks seize upon the opportunity to gain political capital. This, in particular, applies to the Communists who are again trying to put the accession to the Russia-Belarus union on the country's political agenda. But by doing so, they weaken the Armenian government's bargaining position in the Karabakh talks. The same is true of those who accuse the authorities of obstructing
justice in the parliament shootings case.
"Aravot" reports that the People's Party (HZhK), the Yerkrapah Union and the opposition Hanrapetutyun party have drafted a bill restoring capital punishment, which was unofficially abolished in Armenia ten years ago. The main purpose of the proposed legislation, according to Hanrapetutyun's Suren Sureniants, is to make sure that Nairi Hunanian and the other parliament gunmen "have no hopes that they won't be subjected to death penalty." "And if there those who gave them guarantees, they too must have no hope that those guarantees will work," Sureniants says.