“Hayots Ashkhar” editorializes that Robert Kocharian’s visit to Iran opened “a new era” in the Armenian-Iranian relationship. The paper welcomes Yerevan’s resolve to maintain simultaneously good relations with Iran and the United States and the West in general. This is in line with Kocharian’s complementary foreign policy. The paper also stresses the importance of Kocharian’s remarks on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict made in Tehran. His statement that Karabakh will never be part of independent Azerbaijan was a clear message to the international community on the limits of Armenian concessions.
In a yearend commentary, “Iravunk” says 2001 had a good start for Kocharian and his administration. Their enemies were finally defeated and they had a blank check to press ahead with their policies. But, the paper continues, Kocharian’s entourage failed to use the opportunity for improving the situation in the country. Having defeated his opponents, Kocharian “did not display the courage to fight against the oligarchs of the shadow economy and remove hurdles to fair business competition.” He was instead busy orchestrating party rifts and other political intrigues.
“Robert Kocharian preferred to use the political ceasefire only for reinforcing his positions and getting along with existing economic sharks,” writes “Iravunk.” “Furthermore, he gradually acquired all characteristics of a dictator guided by provincial standards and closed his path to constructive reforms.” Change of the country’s leadership is therefore imperative, the paper concludes.
“Azg” has a totally different take on the developments of the past year, describing them as “encouraging.” The authorities have proved wrong the gloomy forecasts about Armenia’s imminent “international isolation” with their correct foreign policy and balanced stance on the Karabakh issue in particular. The paper believes that if they succeed in maintaining political stability, ensuring better governance and reducing corruption, Armenia will be able to get out of its economic doldrums pretty soon.