(Saturday, February 26)
In an interview with “Golos Armenii” readers, President Robert Kocharian comes up with the following forecast of Nagorno-Karabakh’s future: “independence in the foreseeable future, and a part of Armenia in the long term.” “At the moment the negotiating process is more active and there is slight hope for a breakthrough,” Kocharian says. He is also “cautiously optimistic” about Turkey’s recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Kocharian is even more upbeat on the internal situation in Armenia, saying that his government is dominated by “honest and high-caliber people” and that “the majority of our citizens are not pessimistic at all.” “Otherwise we would not have had an average annual growth rate of 11.7 in the last four years.”
The leader of the Armenian parliament’s People’s Deputy group, Karen Karapetian, launches a blistering attack on the three parties making up Armenia’s coalition government, in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak.” Karapetian says that having “deceived the people” in the last elections, each of those parties is now trying to grab a bigger share of the government pie with “mutual accusations.” “They have created an unstable political situation in the country, dealing with each other by issuing threats and dodging responsibility.” Karapetian warns that if the parliament’s dissolution becomes the only “mechanism for bringing the country’s development back to a normal course” his group will advocate fresh elections.
“Azg” reports that the Armenian Ministry of Finance and Economy issued a brief statement on Friday saying that the former head of one of its departments, Levon Shahinian, was arrested for “violations committed during his private, rather than state, activities.” The paper says the ministry is thereby trying to “save itself from becoming discredited” by the affair. But this raises several questions. Why was the official allowed to engage in private business? Did his government position help him to allegedly defraud two auditing firms? “Even more ridiculous is the [ministry’s] implication that he committed that fraud during the six days between being relieved of his duties and arrested,” says the paper.