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Press Review


“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition leader Aram Sarkisian met with U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans on Monday, just over a week after his return from the United States. Citing a statement by the U.S. embassy in Yerevan, the paper says Evans “stressed the need to hold free and fair elections” in Armenia. Evans said the U.S. government and the international community are awaiting the 2007-2008 elections” and will try to ensure that they are democratic.

“That means John Evans is trying to let it be known that Aram Sarkisian wasn’t given the go-ahead in the USA to stage a revolution,” comments “Haykakan Zhamanak.”

“Iravunk” says the opposition may now be unable to turn the expected constitutional referendum into a vote of no confidence in Robert Kocharian, but it can always find other “occasions for doing revolutions.” The October local elections will be one such occasion, says the paper.

Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” Mher Shahgeldian, a leader of the governing Orinats Yerkir Party, sees a “unique opportunity” for domestic political consensus in Armenia, referring to the government’s pledge to accept constitutional amendments favored by the Council of Europe. Another representative of the ruling coalition, Galust Sahakian, is quoted by the paper as welcoming opposition leader Artashes Geghamian’s decision to take part in the next parliamentary debates on constitutional reform. “That was a prudent decision,” says Sahakian, adding that the opposition can not ignore growing pressure from Strasbourg.

According to “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun,” the constitutional agreement with the Council of Europe was a “disgraceful defeat” for the Armenian authorities’ and they are now trying to portray it as an important victory. “The problem is a fairly complicated one because Kocharian had said before that the Council of Europe is not a Politburo for us. And there is now a need to explain why the most combat-ready president of the region has meekly accepted all of the Council of Europe proposals.”

“Azg” reports that Russian-Armenian leader Ara Abrahamian has condemned Ukraine’s government for rejecting a decision by the autonomous region of Crimea to officially commemorate the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey. Abrahamian is quoted as saying that the move exposed “the immaturity of the Ukrainian government” and the fact that Ukraine is not ready to join “the community of democratic states.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” believes that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election as Iran’s new president will “escalate the geopolitical situation in our region.” “Ahmadinejad’s victory is an attempt to save the clerical system and stems from an instinct of self-preservation,” writes the paper, comparing it to a group of hardline Soviet leaders who staged an anti-reformist coup in August 1991. The coup attempt only precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union and a similar fate awaits the regime of mullahs, says the paper.

“Aravot” notes that Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the first foreign leaders to congratulate Ahmadinejad. “Putin’s congratulations are quite often addressed to clearly reactionary individuals that are declared presidents as a result of vote rigging,” alleges the paper. As for the future of Armenian-Iranian relations, it says “the new situation leaves a lot of cause for concern.”

(Hrach Melkumian)
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