Deputy parliament speaker Vahan Hovannisian tells “Aravot” that the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly will discuss at a session in Washington next week a report on the Karabakh conflict which is “positive” for Armenia. According to Hovannisian, the report drafted by Swedish lawmaker Goran Lennmarker says “the central issue” in the conflict is Karabakh’s status and concludes that its resolution would be facilitated by Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s integration into various European structures. “This report can be considered a victory of parliamentary diplomacy,” says Hovannisian.
Opposition politician Hovannes Hovannisian criticizes the continuing appointment of Karabakh Armenians to high-level positions in Yerevan, in an interview with “Aravot.” “We can not remove Karabakh’s entire intellectual resource from Karabakh and bring to Armenia,” he says. “In that case, what settlement of the conflict are we talking about?”
“Aravot” writes in this regard that Samvel Babayan, Karabakh’s former military chief, is not a citizen of Armenia and that his plans to set up a political party there are therefore against the law. But the paper says Babayan aides insist that the once feared general does have an Armenian passport. But they will not say when he obtained it. “The public will know it when Mr. Babayan opens a party and takes part in Armenian elections.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says President Ilham Aliev’s pledge to drastically increase Azerbaijan’s defense budget will not go unnoticed in Yerevan and Stepanakert. “But of greater concern now is not so much the Azerbaijani leadership’s undisguised desire to influence the negotiation process with such methods as an unpredictable internal political situation which is emerging in that country,” writes the paper.
“Kocharian is making concessions under pressure from the Council of Europe,” says “Azg.” The paper also notes that the elections due in Azerbaijan and Armenia this fall “could be a test” for Aliev and Kocharian.
According to “Haykakan Zhamanak,” opposition lawmaker Shavarsh Kocharian has admitted that the authorities’ acceptance of the Council of Europe recommendations on the constitution was totally unexpected for him. He also says the opposition will honor its conditional pledge to cooperate with the authorities on constitutional reform. “For the first time ever there is an unprecedented chance for the country to get out of the crisis,” he explains.
“Experience shows that Iran’s right-wing fundamentalist forces establish more profound relationships with Armenia than those with a democratic essence,” Garnik Asatrian, a senior Yerevan State University professor specializing in Iranian studies, tells “Aravot.” “Under [former President Hashemi] Rafsanjani and before that, no Iranian president ever declared that Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan, while [the outgoing President] Mr. Khatami stated that from different podiums for three times.”
“Iran’s people have made the right choice,” continues Asatrian. “Voting for [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad meant saying ‘yes’ to the regime and its policy and ‘no’ to eight years of semi-democratic changes.”