"Aravot" focuses on the idea of a territorial exchange between Armenia and Azerbaijan in its commentary on Wednesday's meeting between Heydar Aliev and Robert Kocharian. The paper says public reaction in Armenia to Azerbaijani claims that Kocharian had agreed to exchange Meghri for Lachin did not live up to Aliev's expectations. "The Azerbaijani leader has now taken that fact into account and that is probably why Aliev has changed his tactics by becoming a peace dove and withdrawing his recent strongly-worded statements directed at the OSCE and UN. He has realized that Kocharian's future hinges not on the citizens of Armenia...but on the international community." The paper claims that Kocharian is in desperate need of "superpower backing" for his reelection bid. The paper concludes that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents are only imitating a peace process.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" similarly believes that the purpose of the meeting was to "win time before the presidential elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan." "Both Aliev and Kocharian are keen to leave the impression that they are intensively working on the settlement of the conflict and thereby become immune to Western pressure," the paper writes.
"Golos Armenii" also did not expect anything significant to come out of the Aliev-Kocharian talks. The paper notes with irony that the only agreement reached by the presidents was "how to dodge difficult questions from journalists."
"Haykakan Zhamanak" reports that an opinion poll conducted by the opposition Hanrapetutyun party found that Kocharian has the highest approval rating among leading Armenian politicians. Commenting on this report, a close aide to former president Levon Ter-Petrosian, Levon Zurabian, says only four politicians have real chances of winning the February presidential elections: Kocharian, Ter-Petrosian, Artashes Geghamian and Stepan Demirchian. Zurabian says Kocharian is the least popular of them and argues that he will stand no chances of reelection if the opposition puts forward a single candidate.
Citing a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), "Aravot" reports that the nationalist party intends to engage in "healthy criticism" of the current authorities. Armen Rustamian says Dashnaktsutyun will publicize its new plan of action in September. He says the party is now "in the process of clarifying its relationship with the presidential team." Its decision on whether or not to endorse Kocharian will depend on the latter's electoral manifesto, according to Rustamian.