“Levon Ter-Petrosian’s six-year-old vow of silence is over,” declares “Haykakan Zhamanak,” publishing the full transcript of the ex-president’s conversation with journalist late on Wednesday. “What that means will be clear soon.”
General Samvel Babayan, the former Nagorno-Karabakh army chief, has attracted no less media interest since his release from prison last month. His spokesman, Garegin Ghazarian, tells “168 Zham” that Babayan has set up a non-governmental organization and will lay out its goals and mission at a news conference to be held “soon.” “All liberated territories [in Azerbaijan] were ours, are ours and we must by all means keep them,” Ghazarian says. “The issue of [Karabakh’s] status must be subordinated to the supreme issue of territories.” Asked what concessions the Armenian side could then make, he replies, “I don’t know. Let there be no negotiations.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” speculates that the OSCE Minsk Group’s co-chairs put forward a new peace plan two months ago which was accepted by Azerbaijan but not Armenia. “The international community has begun exerting total pressure on Kocharian’s regime to get the latter to accept those proposals,” it says. The paper claims that the UN General Assembly vote on a pro-Azerbaijani resolution was delayed on Tuesday because “Kocharian promised after all to accept the new proposals.” “In any case, it is evident that Kocharian is once again entangled in the consequences of his own policy. Analysis shows that the current president has effectively found himself in a deadlocked situation.”
But according to “Hayots Ashkhar,” the UN resolution was shelved because international mediators share Armenian concerns about its negative impact on the peace process. The paper says Russia, France and the United States will not tolerate any competition in the Karabakh conflict mediation because that could weaken their influence in the region. “The OSCE’s Minsk Group could soon turn the discussion at the UN General Assembly of the issue of occupied territories initiated by Azerbaijan into a bubble explosion,” it says.
“Aravot” reports that Dashnaktsutyun leader Vahan Hovannisian has criticized Tigran Torosian, the head of the Armenian parliamentary delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), for his failure to scuttle a PACE report on Karabakh seen as anti-Armenian. Hovannisian says that the PACE’s current Karabakh rapporteur, David Atkinson, is even more pro-Azerbaijani than his predecessor Terry Davis. “We should not have taken part in the discussion of a report which we warned from the outset will be bad,” he says.
“168 Zham” says that the Armenian dram’s continuing strengthening against the U.S. dollar plays into the hands of Armenia’s top “financial oligarchs,” arguing that virtually all of them engage in wholesale imports of various commodities. “They are the ones who benefit from the dollar’s low exchange rate,” it says. “Trading capital is the force whose lobbying carries the greatest weight with the Armenian authorities. The interests of the real, manufacturing sector of Armenia’s economy are not important for the country’s political and economic leadership.”