“Iravunk” reports on Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s scathing criticism of Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer over his stance on the crisis in Ajaria. Saakashvili brushed aside Schwimmer as a “bureaucrat with a high salary.” The paper says the contemptuous tone of Saakashvili’s reaction is proof that European structures are being “driven out of the Caucasus” by the United States and Russia that increasingly find common interests in the region. “The Russian-American game will sooner or later reach Yerevan and reflect on our internal political processes.” That intervention is unlikely to be in Robert Kocharian’s favor, according to “Iravunk.”
In a separate comment, “Iravunk” says the opposition Artarutyun bloc and the National Unity Party (AMK) agreed to a “dialogue” with the authorities only to demonstrate that they are complying with the resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
“Haykakan Zhamanak” likewise believes that the two sides are more “scared” of the PACE than ready to resolve their differences through dialogue. The paper argues that they have still not discussed any contentious issue despite a series of consultations. “Each party hopes that the other will lose its nerve first and announce its withdrawal from the dialogue.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” makes a similar point but blames the opposition for the lack of results. The opposition is simply keen to please the PACE, the paper says.
Deputy parliament speaker Tigran Torosian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that it will be “very unfortunate” if it turns out that the opposition only wants to “exploit” the PACE resolution for political purposes. The opposition would risk “discrediting” itself in the Council of Europe and other pan-European bodies, Torosian warns. He is confident that the Armenian authorities will have met all of the PACE resolution’s demands before the Assembly’s June session. “Nothing therefore threatens us,” he says.
Another leader of the parliament majority, Galust Sahakian, tells “Aravot” that the authorities will release all jailed opposition activists if Artarutyun and the AMK end their campaign against Kocharian. Asked whether that means he believes that the enforcement of Armenian laws must depend on political expediency, Sahakian replies: “It’s one thing when we deal with criminal offences. But the opposition keeps contending that they are political prisoners and face political persecution. And if that is the problem, it must be resolved in the political field.”