(Saturday, March 5)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” is scathing about the postponement of the next round of Armenian-Azerbaijani talks in Prague which was officially attributed to Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s illness. The paper wonders if Oskanian is indeed so irreplaceable that no other official could represent Armenia at the talks. Oskanian’s health problems, it says, did not prevent Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov from traveling to Prague and meeting international mediators there.
“Armenia is deliberately exiting the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiation process safe in the knowledge that it has nothing to do there anymore,” alleges “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper claims that the conflicting parties are scheduled to sign a “tentative agreement” on Karabakh in Prague on May 2 and that “Armenia seems to be making efforts to scuttle that plan.”
“The arguments of the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments are surprisingly identical,” editorializes “Aravot.” The paper says they boil down to the following: “Let us do whatever we want or we will accuse you of national treason.” “We are still moving in the Communist-feudal direction because of the Armenian and Azerbaijani authorities,” it adds. “Feudals and petty princes benefit from enmity, rattling sabers at the neighbor, false patriotic speeches, and giving in to primitive instincts of the society. But all of that, of course, is temporary. Civilization … has no alternative.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that leaders of the Armenian parliament majority were on Thursday reticent when asked to sum up President Robert Kocharian’s track record since his disputed reelection two years ago. The paper says they were far more “enthusiastic” as recently as one year ago. It says the majority leaders may end up denouncing Kocharian’s second as “destructive” for Armenia by 2007.
“Azg” continues to cover Tuesday’s incident at Yerevan’s State Economics University where a student shot and wounded a senior professor, Albert Hovannisian, from a gas pistol. Grigor Kirakosian, the university rector, confirms reports that student’s father, who holds a senior post at the Armenian Defense Ministry, visited Hovannisian the next day and told him, “The pistol should have been filled with gas. He should have hit you to death.” “This is not only our university’s problem,” says Kirakosian. “This is the problem of our milieu, the education sphere. They may come and shoot the rector one day. And this could happen everywhere.”