“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on Tuesday’s closed hearings on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which took place in the Armenian parliament and were attended by Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian. The paper quotes an unnamed deputy who took part in them as saying that President Kocharian would like to further drag out the negotiating process. “Oskanian hinted that they will tell the [OSCE Minsk Group] co-chairs that the issue is impossible to resolve without Karabakh and Armenia will step aside,” the lawmaker says.
Oskanian is also said to have told the lawmakers that he is appalled at the prospect of Azerbaijan receiving billions of dollars in oil revenues after the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. “So we are now returning to 1997 when [then President] Ter-Petrosian was saying that the party which strengthens its economy will ultimately win the war,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” comments.
“Aravot” says the Armenian parliamentarians say privately that the authorities want to involve the National Assembly in the Karabakh peace process. “From now on any proposal by the co-chairs will become subject to parliamentary discussions,” the paper says, speculating that Kocharian would like to reject a possible “unfavorable” peace by means of the parliament.
“The nature of the Armenian opposition is self-destructive,” editorializes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “It is unable to do anything reasonable.” The pro-presidential paper believes that Kocharian’s political opponents can not replicate the success of the Georgian opposition which forced President Eduard Shevardnadze into resignation on Sunday. It cites the opinion of some Armenian government ministers to back up the assertion. The Georgian-born Agriculture Minister David Lokian argues that Armenia has a more “established” state and better socioeconomic situation than Georgia. To hope that Kocharian can be ousted in a similar fashion would be a “self-delusion,” agrees Energy Minister Armen Movsisian.
“It would be wrong to believe that democracy has finally won in Georgia because hardly any country can become democratic so quickly as long as it is managed and directed by a third force,” comments “Ayb-Fe.” “It is still a big question whether this revolution was velvet thanks to the Georgian opposition or Shevardnadze personally who, unlike his Armenian and Azerbaijani colleagues, did not use force against peaceful demonstrators right from the beginning. Most probably, Georgia has lagged 15 years behind history and it is now in the year 1988 Armenian time.”
“Yes, my mother is an Armenian from Javakheti, and I am proud of that,” Zurab Zhvania, one of the three top opposition leaders of Georgia, tells “Azg.” Zhvania says the previous Georgian leadership used this fact for trying to “discredit” him. He denies that the two other opposition leaders who led the street protests against Shevardnadze, Nino Burjanadze and Mikhail Saakashvili, also have ethnic Armenian roots.
Saakashvili, meanwhile, is quoted by Armenian newspapers as telling Azerbaijani journalists on Monday that the “strategic partnership” between Azerbaijan and Georgia will enable both countries to “restore our territorial integrity.”