An international conference on the 90th anniversary the Armenian genocide held in Yerevan makes headlines in Thursday’s Armenian newspapers.
“Azg” comments on the participation in the two-day forum of a special adviser to the UN secretary general, Juan Mendez. “If the special adviser to the UN secretary general had such a speech at any conference on the Holocaust, Jews would undoubtedly not let him finish it,” says the paper. “In his speech, Mendez didn’t mention the Armenian genocide. Nor did he use phrases like ‘Armenian massacres’ or ‘suffering’.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says Mendez’s speech clearly angered the chairman of the Armenian parliament’s foreign relations committee, Armen Rustamian. The paper says Rustamian refused to comment on the speech, saying that he does not want Armenia to be expelled from the UN. Opposition leader Artashes Geghamian, for his part, called the speech “weird.”
“Azg” recalls another genocide conference that took place in Yerevan ten years ago. Its keynote speaker, then President Levon Ter-Petrosian, used the occasion to attack the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), saying that that party was also responsible for the slaughter of more than a million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. The paper says Ter-Petrosian’s claim that the genocide had nothing to do ethnic and religious antagonism between Armenians and Turks was disputed by other participants.
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports on Turkish unease over the new Pope Benedict XVI’s past opposition to Turkey’s membership in the European Union. It reminds of the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s remark that Turkey should integrate into the Islamic world instead.
“Aravot” makes the point that the Armenian opposition’s role in political processes going on in the country is minimal. But one of the opposition leaders, Victor Dallakian, disagrees with this contention. “One can not fail to notice that the internal political situation is very tense. If we take an in-depth look at things, [we will see that] all problems remain unsolved,” he says, adding that “a single spark can cause an explosion.”
“Aravot” quotes Vahan Shirkhanian, a former influential member of the Armenian government now in opposition to President Robert Kocharian, as criticizing Russia. Shirkhanian believes that Russia is “gradually losing its allies in Armenia.” “The Russian Federation has adopted a policy toward Armenia that has repelled the pro-Russian population from it. This problem has now been reduced to a dilemma: democracy or Russia. I definitely choose the former.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s son Taron will run for the post of prefect of Yerevan’s northern Avan district where he and his father live. The election there is slated for May 22.