By Vache Sarkisian
Today's Armenian newspapers quote Azerbaijani sources as reporting that the Armenian and Azerbaijani defense ministers met yesterday on the border between the two countries and discussed the recent clashes on the frontline, which resulted in casualties on both sides.
"Azg" expresses surprise that despite continuing reports in the Azerbaijani media on border clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, Armenian Defense Ministry officials continue to deny the reports. But the meeting between the defense ministers of two countries proves that the reports in the Azerbaijani press were not unfounded.
The clashes on the border are a matter for serious concern, "Haikakan Zhamanak" writes. There is no explanation of what caused the border clashes. There are half-hearted attempts to explain the armed clashes and rising border tension by the upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan. But it is understandable that the Azerbaijani authorities are interested in particular in a new Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, "Haikakan Zhamanak" writes. Then what is the reason for the new clashes? The first reason is perhaps Russian President Vladimir Putin's unscheduled visit to Baku. The second reason is the reports that the U.S. plans to deploy troops in the Azerbaijani-Iranian border area, which is now controlled by the Armenian armed forces. Most probably the Russians are seriously concerned by such reports. Putin is coming to Baku to prevent an Azerbaijani-American plot by diplomacy. But if diplomacy fails, then it would be possible to prevent the deployment of the U.S. forces in the Zangelan and Fizuli regions of Azerbaijan only by a renewed armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Armenian parliament deputy Galust Sahakian told "Aravot" that reshuffles in the power ministries could be useful and have a positive effect, but the country needs systemic changes. So many killings in just one month are becoming a security problem. The murders create tension and destabilize the situation. But the leader of the Republican Party parliament faction dismissed the suggestion that the authorities relied on criminal elements during the elections and are now reaping the fruits of their mistakes. Commenting on Sahakian's statement, "Aravot" recalls that during past presidential elections the authorities relied on "Kombiker Vlad," "Tokhmakh Mher," "Karamel Harut," "Miller Leo," "Burnash" and many other individuals whose nicknames are notorious.
"Ayb Fe" reports that the authorities have filed a criminal lawsuit against Orinats Yerkir Party member Victor Martirosian on charges of misappropriating $80,000 when Martirosian was working as a head of the Education Reform Center. According to "Ayb Fe," Orinats Yerkir party leader Artur Baghdasarian, who is now speaker of the Armenian parliament, asked President Robert Kocharian to postpone the detention of Martirosian until after the parliamentary elections. But the authorities not only postponed the detention and the possible trial, but also promoted Martirosian to a higher position, appointing him a deputy chairman of the republican commission on entry exams, "Ayb Fe" reports