“Azg” reports that the government of Armenia still lacks full information about the situation in Abkhazia and that is why it “has not yet taken concrete measures” to ensure security of local Armenians. The paper expresses concern at efforts by some unspecified forces to “draw Georgia’s Armenians into the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict.” The Yerevan administration, it says, is also under growing domestic pressure to somehow interfere in the region.
Meanwhile, an aide to Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, laments what he sees as a strong anti-Armenian sentiment in Georgia. “The recent anti-Armenian hysteria in Georgia, where certain officials were accused of being [ethnically] Armenian, has left a very negative imprint [on bilateral ties],” Stepan Markarian tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “Unfortunately, no intellectual or authoritative person there has publicly condemned that phenomenon and said, ‘What are you people doing? Is being Armenian a sin?’”
The situation in Abkhazia and Georgian-Armenian relations were on Friday discussed by Armen Rustamian, deputy chairman of the parliament committee on foreign relations, and Nikoloz Nikolozishvili, Georgia’s ambassador in Yerevan, “Hayots Ashkhar” reports. “The Georgian side, too, is anxious to make sure that what happens in Abkhazia at the moment does not spill over into the sphere of Armenian-Georgian relations,” Rustamian said after the meeting. “Armenia can not stay indifferent to the fate of its co-ethnics, but it should act in a way that precludes any provocation or tension in the relationship between the two states.” The senior lawmaker, who is affiliated with the Dashnaktsutyun party, believes that Yerevan must first of all obtain objective information about the situation on the ground and then use “all accepted diplomatic means” to protect interests of Armenian minorities in Georgia and elsewhere in the world.
“Haykakan Zhamanak,” predictably, offers a different perspective on the situation. The paper continues to be concerned that “there are quite a few Armenians in Armenia and Russia who are ready to sacrifice Georgian-Armenian ties for the sake of Russia.”
Looking at the domestic political front, “Haykakan Zhamanak” ponders the future of Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK). The premier, it says, is well aware that besides two-and-a-half dozen deputies of the parliament there is little the “governing” party can boast. The Republicans also realize that “there is no Vazgen Sarkisian” no ensure their reelection in 2003. Hence, their attempts to form a “liberal bloc” comprising pro-Kocharian forces. “The president has promised that I will work for one more year,” Markarian told party leaders recently, according to the paper. Kocharian may indeed let him be prime minister for another year, but he will not fail to dismiss Markarian and “scapegoat” the HHK before the next election, the paper concludes.