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Press Review


“We are all expecting that at least one of the official figures in Armenia will somehow comment on the [Karabakh-related] statements by [the outgoing U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth] Jones,” writes “Aravot.” “But as days go by, the authorities are only organizing signature collections and protests by [the pro-government youth group] Baze.” The paper claims that the Americans could conclude that by keeping silent official Yerevan agrees with Jones’s politically explosive comments.

Vahan Hovannisian, the deputy parliament speaker representing the Dashnaktsutyun party, continues to state that Jones did not express the U.S. government’s view when she referred to Karabakh Armenian leaders as “criminal secessionists.” “We should not take that lady’s statements seriously,” he tells “Yerkir.” Hovannisian at the same time claims that her statement was not “accidental.” “Such statements are usually made ahead of discussions [on Karabakh] at one or another international organization,” he says.

But “Iravunk” insists that Jones’s statement reflected Washington’s position on the Karabakh conflict. “The Armenian authorities do have serious cause for concern in connection with the statement,” it says. “The term ‘criminal secessionists’ applies not only and not so much to the current NKR leadership as, from the American perspective, to the most influential figures in Armenia’s government system: Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian. For the latter had for years been the pivotal figures in the NKR leadership. It is clear that this description will be used against them sooner or later.”

“The U.S. has reason to resort to brute pressure,” continues “Iravunk.” “For Washington, it is important who and how reliably controls the Armenia-Iranian border now which is now effectively 150 kilometers long.” The paper speculates that the Americans may one day decide to deploy troops along that border. The Armenian authorities, it says, the only effective ways of countering U.S. pressure is to stage-managing Soviet-style “outbursts of popular indignation” or look to Russia for support.

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that meeting with a delegation of U.S. congressional aides last week, not only opposition leaders but also some pro-government politicians said that they are the ones who could lead a Western-backed revolution in Armenia. “The Americans found so many Saakashvilis and Yushchenkos in our small country that they are now faced with an extremely difficult choice: on whom should they bet?” The paper says the Armenian politicians will save no effort to present themselves as Russia’s friends during the upcoming visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“Hayots Ashkhar” reflects on whether Armenia can attain a pro-Armenian solution to the Karabakh dispute by orienting itself toward the United States. “Armenia simply cannot make drastic moves in any direction,” writes the paper. “And that is not a consequence of its government’s foreign policy, but a result of objective geopolitical realities.” Armenia should therefore continue its “floating policy” in the international stage, it concludes.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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