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Press Review


The second Motherland-Diaspora forum has set itself the task of energizing efforts to rebuild the nation by its unifying power, "Hayots Ashkharh" says. The paper joins the chorus of optimistic headlines in Armenian newspapers which believe that the second World Armenian forum will make progress in its work.

President Robert Kocharian's list of the achievements of the first Armenia-Diaspora forum in 1999 is the best evidence that it achieved nothing, "Orran" writes. The only concern of the wealthy Armenian businessmen who have invested in Armenia is how to save some of their capital and to continue to love motherland from a distance, the paper says.

According to "Aravot," President Kocharian, who didn't deliver on his pre-election promises, now badly needs to show himself as a unifier of the Nation. But this time it will be difficult, because all the projects outlined during the previous forum have failed, including the promise to introduce a dual citizenship for Diaspora Armenians, the paper says. The only achievement was that some Diaspora businessmen have succeeded in setting up profitable economic ties with Motherland by obtaining exclusive monopoly rights. "Aravot" believes these deals will greatly harm Armenia's economy, because they are dictated by other, political considerations. It happens very often, when presidents receive support from certain economic circles in exchange for the exclusive rights that they have given them, "Aravot" concludes.

"Hayastani komunist" says that that Armenia-Diaspora events are beneficial only for a couple of Diaspora businessmen who want to extend their passion for profits to their motherland.

The chief of "Dashnak" party "Hay Dat" commission in Armenia, Eduard Hovhanessian, believes that the Pan-Armenian forum is another form of tourism. "I have no expectation from this forum, these people are tourists. They will come and go. It would have been much better if they gave the money they spent on hotels and travel to Armenia instead of delivering empty speeches, just as they did at the last forum" Hovhanessian says in his interview with the weekly "Iravunk."

Commenting on the Bush-Putin summit in Moscow, "Haikakan Zhamanak" says that Russia has made strategic concessions to the U.S. in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. U.S. ally Turkey will replace Russia in those regions.

"Hayots Ashkarh" takes the opposite view of U.S.-Russia cooperation. The paper believes that the prospects of Russian-U.S. cooperation are very good for Armenia. Russia shoulders the whole burden of shifting the region's priorities towards the west. This could provide an opportunity for Russia to take a breathing space during which it has neither clear cut friends or enemies, instead of being forced into major conflicts or confrontations. "Hayots Askharh" says. The paper concludes that in this scenario the U.S. will give Russia carte blanche to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with its own interests. The paper suggests that there were concrete arrangements during Bush-Putin summit and the aim of frequent visits to Armenia by high-level Russian officials is to present these arrangements to the Armenian leadership.

Another scandal has erupted in Yerevan. Well-known businessman Ruben Hairapetian has severely beaten up parliament deputy Martin Hovhanesian, who was a chairman of the "Credit Yerevan" bank. "We now have a very sad tradition of solving issues with the help of fist fights, "Hayots Askharh" says, recalling that Ruben Hairapetian and his bodyguards meted out the same treatment to former parliament deputy Vartan Aivazian, who is now a minister, without incurring any punishment.

Vache Sarkisian
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