“Hayots Ashkhar” welcomes the OSCE’s report on the occupied Azerbaijani territories as proof of “the complete bankruptcy” of Azerbaijani allegations about a resettlement policy pursued by Armenia. The paper says Azerbaijan should brace for more trouble as Armenia has demanded that the OSCE send a similar fact-finding mission to Azerbaijani-controlled areas that were formerly populated by Armenians.
But “Haykakan Zhamanak” says Yerevan’s “enthusiasm” about the report is not justified. “Of particular concern is the fact that the fact-finding group certified the devastation of those territories and, more importantly, the dismantling of the local section of the Baku-Nakhichevan railway,” says the paper. “The fact-finding group’s report is markedly soft at the moment and has enormous potential for weighing heavily upon the Armenian side.”
“Iravunk” likewise writes that although the OSCE mission did not conclude that Armenia is populating those territories, it can always use the report to accuse the latter of committing “ethnic cleansing” during the war. “In general, one can see a continuing increase in external pressure on Armenia,” says the paper. “Washington is seeking to coerce Robert Kocharian to sign a document on a Karabakh settlement that envisages the surrender of the liberated territories and the deployment of peace-keeping forces. It is becoming increasingly clear that Russia too is exerting pressure on official Yerevan over a Karabakh settlement … It looks as though the Russians and the Americans are seeking to first resolve the Karabakh issue with Kocharian’s hands and then get rid of Kocharian.”
“Ayb-Fe” finds Armenia’s position on Karabakh “disgracefully defeatist,” saying that it is ready to agree to the return of occupied Azerbaijani districts. The paper says the only question raised by the government is “what we must demand in return for the territories.”
Garnik Isagulian, President Robert Kocharian’s national security adviser, tells “Aravot” that Azerbaijan continues to resort to war-mongering because it stands no chance of winning back Karabakh within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. “They are resorting to such actions in order to change the course of resolution of the problem,” Isagulian says. “It could be that with such steps the Azerbaijani side is trying to show that the situation in the region is not calm and that there is a possibility for renewed fighting. As a consequence of that, it will try to achieve a change in the Minsk Group format or force the Minsk Group to adopt a different policy on Nagorno-Karabakh.” But he says the Armenian side will never make “unilateral concessions.”
But opposition leader Artashes Geghamian paints a different picture of the Karabakh peace process in a separate interview with “Aravot.” Geghamian is worried about an “unfavorable solution” which he says is being imposed on the Armenians.