"Haykakan Zhamanak" reports that several members of the Armenian parliament will soon unveil draft legislation aimed at protecting domestic industries against foreign competition. They will urge the legislature to impose 50 percent duties on some imported goods, including cables, plastic items, furniture, chemicals and alcoholic drinks. The idea was last week discussed and rejected by the government, which argued that the protectionist measures would be in breach of Armenia's commitments to the International Monetary Fund and would undermine its long-running efforts to join the World Trade Organization. The paper too finds the idea dangerous.
"Aravot" is even more skeptical about the chances of success of the newly formed parliamentary commission that will oversee the ongoing criminal proceedings in the case of the parliament shootings. The paper is dismayed by the composition of the commission unveiled on Tuesday. And not just because the ad hoc body includes lawmakers who initially spoke out against the idea of a parliamentary oversight of the controversial probe. Among its members are also those who themselves have problems with the law: the so-called "guys with nicknames."
One of the most active supporters of the parliamentary oversight, deputy speaker Gagik Aslanian, makes the point, in an interview "Zhamanak," that there was nothing wrong in the alleged ill-treatment of the parliament gunmen by law-enforcement officials. So horrendous was the crime committed by Nairi Hunanian and his accomplices that the prosecutors did not have to adhere to the due process of law, Aslanian says. The jailed attackers must know that "they are rejected by the society and that human rights issues are not applicable to them because they are not humans."
"Hayots Ashkhar" speculates in the run-up to the US-Russian summit in Slovenia that Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin will discuss among, other things, their conflicting interests in the south Caucasus. The paper is convinced that the Russians will not agree to share their "controlling stake" in the region with the Americans, giving Washington a carte blanche in the Middle East instead. Moscow will then easily put the brakes on Azerbaijan's geopolitical aspirations. This will no doubt be a favorable development for Armenians.
The Armenian public remains largely indifferent to the official celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of their country's conversion to Christianity six months after their start, according to "Yerkir." But there is still time to arouse public interest in the festivities before they come to a head next fall.