“Hayots Ashkhar” writes that the 10th anniversary of the signing in Moscow of a ceasefire agreement that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh war should serve as a reminder to Armenians to stay vigilant and united in the still unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan. The paper says in this regard that the Armenian opposition should stop using “anti-Karabakh slogans” in its quest for power and concentrate instead on how the country should better cope with “challenges stemming from the ten-year truce.”
Commenting on the truce anniversary, a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), recalls in a “Hayots Ashkhar” interview that not everyone in Armenia was in favor of halting hostilities in Karabakh in May 1994. “Azerbaijan was very weak in all senses at the time and we had an opportunity to win militarily more convenient positions,” he says. “Perhaps it would have been easier today to hold negotiations from those positions.” Political analyst Suren Zolian, who was a parliament deputy in 1990-95, agrees that the Armenian forces could have occupied more Azerbaijani districts but says the Armenian and Karabakh leaderships were right to sign the Russian-mediated agreement. Zolian’s sole regret is that the Armenian side did not make sure that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is mentioned as a full-fledged party to the negotiations in the text of the armistice.
“Aravot” stresses in an editorial that the ceasefire agreement may have stopped fierce fighting but did not bring a lasting peace. Echoing former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s 1997 discourse, the paper says the Armenians won a major battle, but not the war. “Unfortunately, Armenia did not defeat Azerbaijan because the latter did not formalize its defeat ten years ago in a document that has a legal force. The conflicting parties simply found it convenient…to temporarily stop hostilities. Peace itself still lies ahead.” The paper also complains that the Karabakh issue has been relegated to background in the Armenian political arena. The only attempt to discuss the issue in earnest was made by Ter-Petrosian in 1997, it says.
Wednesday also marks the 4th anniversary of Andranik Markarian’s appointment as prime minister. “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” says Markarian’s track record in office has been overwhelmingly positive. “He was and is clearly guided by a desire not to turn differences into contradictions and is looking for common ground in the existing disagreements,” the government-funded paper writes. It praises Armenia’s longest-serving prime minister for “not completely burning bridges with rivals or opponents.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” similarly describes Markarian as a serious stabilizing factor in Armenia.
“Aravot” says that by focusing on alleged “abuses” in the use of a World Bank loan for the Armenian judiciary the Audit Chamber of the Armenian parliament has deflected public attention from other, much more corrupt spheres such as tax and customs duty collection. The paper says some lawmakers also think that the issue was brought up to “distract” Armenians from the political crisis in the country.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the leader of the opposition National Unity Party, Artashes Geghamian, has accused another prominent oppositionist, Aram Karapetian, of secretly cooperating with the authorities. The paper adds for its part that Karapetian has told some senior members of his Nor Zhamanakner party that President Robert Kocharian has promised Russia hand over power to Karapetian in 2008. “This is definitely not bad legend for keeping the party ranks close,” the paper comments.