“Haykakan Zhamanak” makes the point that the resolution of conflicts in the South Caucasus depends more on Russia and the United States than the conflicting parties themselves. So the latest talks between Presidents Vladimir Putin and George Bush are “essential” for further progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. The paper also quotes the spokesman for Robert Kocharian, Vahe Gabrielian, as saying that both Bush and Putin assured the Armenian leader in recent phone conversations that they remain committed to the so-called Paris principles of the Karabakh settlement.
Meanwhile, more senior Armenian military commanders join the country’s political leaders in shrugging off Azerbaijan’s threats to resume hostilities in Karabakh. One of them, General Haykaz Baghmanian, tells “Zhamanak,” “I don’t think that Azerbaijani leaders will choose to finally destroy their country. Baku cannot fail to realize that the Azerbaijani army is far weaker than the Armenian army in terms of both combat readiness and morale. It is therefore unlikely to take such an extreme step. But if it does so, our national army will end the war very quickly. And that will be our final fight with the Azeris.”
“Aravot” reports that President Kocharian has rejected opposition leader Artashes Geghamian’s offer of live televised debates on major issues facing the country. It quotes spokesman Gabrielian as saying that such debates may only take place in the run-up to the next presidential election.
“Azg” comments that Geghamian’s National Unity party and its two opposition allies, the HZhK and Hanrapetutyun, are unlikely to form a bloc as they realize that political alliances built around concrete individuals have not been long-lasting in Armenia. The collapse of the Miasnutyun bloc is a good example of that. The paper believes that only alliances based on a common or similar ideology can be viable. A successful bloc will have to comprise either right-wing or left-wing parties. In modern day Armenia, the latter have better chances of winning elections.
“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that if there is anything Armenians have a consensus on it is the need to eradicate corruption. The paper is convinced that the problem is rooted in Armenia’s flawed laws which create numerous corruption opportunities. The authorities must fight against corrupt practices primarily by amending existing laws and enacting new ones rather than toughening punishment for graft.