In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian dismisses talk of increased international pressure on Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, saying that it is not serious to think that U.S. or European officials could have openly declared that Karabakh is not part of Azerbaijan. “I wouldn’t like the content of our newspaper comments published after these events or our public mood to be similar to the situation in 1992 when many believed that Karabakh is already lost, that Karabakh is unable to fight against Azerbaijan jointly with Armenia and were taking relevant steps,” he says. “I think that current negotiations with Azerbaijan are going on in tough conditions and that those known principles which have been guiding us since 1998 must always remain our political beacon.”
“The Azerbaijanis are unable to solve the Karabakh problem by military means,” Sarkisian continues. “If they were, if they felt confident, they wouldn’t ask anyone for permission. And I don’t think that in that case there would be many countries or international organizations that would take tough action against that. I am sure that our army is today more mighty than ever before.”
“Aravot” again contends that Armenia is not an independent country but a mere Russian “outpost.” The paper says that unlike their Armenian counterparts, Georgian leaders felt offended when Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov refused to lay flowers at a memorial to those who died fighting for Georgia’s territorial integrity.
“168 Zham” likewise describes Lavrov’s talks in Yerevan as “a fact-finding visit to the outpost.” The paper is also scathing about the latest macroeconomic data released by Armenia’s National Statistical Service on Wednesday.
“As state structures are busy catering for several clans, openly ignoring the majority of the population, the latter no longer expects anything from the state and does not take its assurances seriously,” writes “Golos Armenii.” The paper singles out the chairman of the Armenian Central Bank, Tigran Sarkisian, for attack, telling him bitingly “not to worry” about his reappointment to the job by President Kocharian as it is certain to happen.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that leaders of the Artarutyun alliance are in talks with other opposition parties over launching a “big popular movement” against Kocharian in April. Among those parties is the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh). An unnamed leader of Artarutyun is quoted as saying that the HHSh has “great intellectual potential.” “We will repeat [what happened on] April 12, 2004, but the outcome will definitely be victorious this time around,” he says, adding that opposition supporters will again be told to march to Kocharian’s residence some time this April. The politician says that the opposition will stand a better chance of success because Kocharian’s international standing has weakened dramatically over the past year.