In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” the chairman of the Armenian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Armen Rustamian, criticizes the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s latest report on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict drafted by British parliamentarian David Atkinson. Rustamian accuses Atkinson of being biased against the Armenian side.
The paper quotes in this regard political expert Aleksandr Iskandarian as saying, “No president of Armenia had, has and will have the public’s blank check to surrender Karabakh.” Iskandarian says Armenians may be grappling with grave socioeconomic problems but “once they feel a real threat, there will happen something like what happened in 1998 when the president [Levon Ter-Petrosian] resigned just because he wrote the ‘War or Peace’ article.”
Armenian opposition leaders, meanwhile, continue to pounce on the authorities’ perceived Karabakh setbacks. “Robert Kocharian’s policy has forced him into the trenches,” Victor Dallakian of the Artarutyun bloc tells “Haykakan Zhamanak,” alluding to his visit last week to Armenian frontline positions. “We must do everything to make sure that Kocharian does not succeed in forcing all of Armenia and the Armenian people to put on a uniform and get into the trenches.”
“Unfortunately, being very arrogant, Kocharian has substituted for the Karabakh authorities,” another oppositionist, Albert Bazeyan, tells “Aravot.” Bazeyan argues that Kocharian has himself helped to drive the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic out of the peace process by agreeing to frequent talks with Azerbaijani presidents.
“It is obvious that international structures are becoming more attentive toward Karabakh,” “Aravot” comments for its part. “It is obvious that that attention is not quite beneficial for Karabakh and Armenia.” The paper says leaders of the ruling coalition privately express serious concern about the latest Karabakh-related developments.
“Yerkir” suspects that the Azerbaijani actions are guided by one of the three co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group. The paper does not specify which one. “Even under the omnipotent Heydar Aliev Azerbaijan’s leadership did not dare take active steps, both diplomatic and military, without relying on the support of external forces.” Aliev’s son and successor Ilham is “not perceived as a serious politician even in his own country.”