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Press Review


"Orran" believes that by presenting his version of the so-called Paris principles Heydar Aliev, who is more adept in "political intrigues" than his Armenian counterpart, was intent on "weakening Kocharian's already weakened power" so that Aliev junior, as successor, will have a stronger bargaining position.

"Hayots Ashkhar" gives the following explanation to the question of "why Aliev is doing tricks." The paper says the recent developments in the Karabakh peace process "do not play into the hands of Aliev and his clan in terms of ensuring a peaceful transfer of power" to the Azerbaijani leader's son, Ilham Aliev. "The Azerbaijani president is deliberately pushing that process into deadlock in the hope of winning the support of the superpowers in bringing his son to power." "Hayots Ashkhar" goes on to claim that one of those "superpowers," Russia, is not interested in seeing Ilham Aliev succeed his father.

But "Aravot" trusts Heydar Aliev's assertion that he and Robert Kocharian had agreed last year to swap the Lachin and Meghri districts. It is the Armenian authorities that are trying to "deceive" their people, the pro-opposition paper claims. It slams Yerevan "for discussing such a plan behind our backs."

A former deputy speaker of the parliament, Ara Sahakian, backs the allegations in an interview with "Orran." "For us the question was whether Kocharian was giving away Meghri in a package or step by step," Sahakian says. He believes that the mediating efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group "can be considered to have failed" because its co-chairs are busy "forming governments in Armenia and Azerbaijan" instead of seeking a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The current vice-speaker, Tigran Torosian, endorses the parliament majority leader Galust Sahakian's claims that the Armenian opposition which tried to impeach Kocharian has ties with "various external forces." He tells "Hayots Ashkhar" that those forces want to topple the current regime in Yerevan "especially in terms of their interests on the Karabakh issue." Torosian says Aliev's latest statements are part of that scenario.

"Iravunk" says Galust Sahakian's charges were a "subtle hint at coordinated activities of certain [Armenian] government factions and the Kremlin." Those factions, according to the paper, are led by Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. With the United States and other major powers pushing for a peace deal on Karabakh before the end of this year, "it becomes clear that Robert Kocharian could find himself in an extremely difficult situation in September, as was the case with Levon Ter-Petrosian in late 1997."

Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian assures "Aravot" that Kocharian will win another five-year term in office in a free and fair election. Manukian believes that there is no alternative to the current president and urges his opponents to "let Kocharian build the country."

(Vache Sarkisian)
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