In a story headlined “We perform poorly in Europe,” “Hayots Ashkhar” is concerned that Armenian setbacks in Strasbourg might build up into a “critical mass of results” that would render Armenia vulnerable to external “ultimatums” on Nagorno-Karabakh and other issues. “It is clear that some of the [European] resolutions and wordings are the result of the unsatisfactory work of our delegation and Armenian lobbying organizations in Europe,” the paper says. The last session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, it says, must be a “wake-up call” for Armenia’s leadership and Diaspora groups.
“There are no serious and in-depth discussions about what happened [at Strasbourg],” writes “Yerkir.” “Nobody asks what are the roots of such changes in European structures’ position. Nobody wants to recall that a group of diplomats works in Strasbourg at the expense of our taxpayers on a permanent basis. They must have followed those changes and wake-up calls.” The paper also lays the blame on the opposition members of the Armenian delegation at the PACE who it says are primarily concerned with using developments in Strasbourg for their domestic political agenda.
Armen Rustamian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament’s foreign affairs committee who also holds a seat in the PACE, tells “Ayb-Fe” that Armenia has no strategy of dealing with international discussions of its political record. He says the absence of such a strategy seriously complicates coordination of efforts by the executive and legislative branches. Rustamian also defends his Dashnaktsutyun party against possible rebukes from other pro-government forces some of which are reportedly unhappy with the way he works with the Council of Europe.
The Armenian opposition, meanwhile, is adamant in insisting on a change of the country’s leadership. One of its top parliamentarians, Victor Dallakian, tells “Aravot” that the Artarutyun bloc is determined to force a parliament debate on a referendum of confidence in President Robert Kocharian. “If [Kocharian] wants to quit with violence he will face a reaction to that as well,” Dallakian warns.
“Iravunk” writes that both the governing and opposition forces remain riven by internal discord and rifts. The paper says the government camp in particular may well “implode” as a result of an acceleration of Karabakh peace talks, seriously endangering Kocharian’s position. It also sees growing “elements of an election campaign” in the country’s political life.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the nomination of Larisa Alaverdian as Armenia’s first ombudsman on human rights is viewed by the opposition as another indication of the so-called “Karabakh clan’s” tightening grip on power. Like Kocharian, Alaverdian is originally from Karabakh. Her candidacy is expected to be considered by the three-party ruling coalition in the coming days. But, the paper says, “nobody even doubts that as a result of that ‘serious’ discussion it will turn out, by pure chance, that all three forces representing the coalition dream about seeing Larisa Alaverdian as Armenia’s human rights defender.”