“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that the Russian-Georgian border crossing at Verkhny Lars remains “effectively closed” despite Russia’s decision to let Armenian-bound vehicles through it.
“Azg” correspondents report from the scene that “Georgia gave a three-hour green light for vehicles headed to Armenia but that was of no use.” “The situation remains complicated and there are serious problems,” they write.
“A de-jure open but de-facto closed border,” comments “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “The Russian-Georgian border crossing at Verkhny Lars may still not be reopened for a long time because there are reports that the Russian authorities are preparing to declare a state of emergency in the North Caucasus. The thing is that next week will mark the 40-day death anniversary of the Beslan [school siege] victims and there are reports that the Ossetians will carry out retaliatory attacks on Chechens and Ingush after completing the mourning period.”
“168 Zham,” meanwhile, quotes prominent businessman and parliament deputy Khachatur Sukiasian as playing down the significance of the Verkhny Lars road, saying that it accounts for up to 25 percent of cargo traffic between Armenia and Russia. “It’s just very bad that we were not warned about the closure of the Lars border crossing in advance,” he says. Sukiasian adds that he expects no serious impact on consumer prices in Armenia.
Sukiasian also disagrees with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s claims that Armenia can develop economically with closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan. “No economy develops on its own,” he argues. “It develops at the expense of other states, by cooperating with other states, by selling its products to other states and importing things from them.”
“Aravot” reports that the leadership of the opposition Artarutyun alliance held a “secret meeting” on Wednesday. Some of its details were immediately leaked to journalists. The bloc’s board, according to some of its members, decided in particular to hold a rally on October 27, on the fifth anniversary of the 1999 parliament massacre. Artarutyun lawmakers might also suspend their boycott of parliament by taking part in the upcoming vote on amendments to the election law.