“Aravot” reports that senior U.S. State Department officials told a group of Armenian parliamentarians in Washington earlier this month that agreement on the liberation of five of the seven occupied Azerbaijani territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh has already been reached and the issue is “no longer subject to discussion.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” analyzes the reported formula of a Karabakh settlement which would lead to a referendum of independence in Karabakh some time in the future. The paper is less than impressed with it. “It means that in return for surrendering liberated territories Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will get a mere promise of recognition of the results of the future referendum. Its realization in 10 or 15 years time will clearly be hampered by the strengthening of Turkey’s positions in the region and a change of the demographic situation in at least two Karabakh districts.”
In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Dashnaktsutyun leader Armen Rustamian warns the Armenian opposition against rejecting constitutional amendments endorsed by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. Rustamian says the opposition would be regarded as a “force impeding democratic processes” by both the Armenian authorities and Europe. “The referendum [on constitutional amendments] will be a prelude to the parliamentary elections of 2007,” he says. “If the referendum succeeds in the event of opposition resistance, it will seriously stand in the way of an opposition victory in the next elections. And if the referendum collapses with their help, they will be brought to task before both the Armenian people and the international community for thwarting development of democracy.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the leadership of the opposition Artarutyun bloc will discuss on Friday a draft statement demanding additional major changes in Robert Kocharian’s constitutional draft. The paper says the opposition National Unity Party will be offered to sign up to the statement if it is approved by Artarutyun.
In an editorial, “Aravot” tries to explain why the few individuals convicted of pimping and trafficking Armenian women abroad for sexual exploitation usually get suspended jail sentences. “That mystery is very easy to resolve,” says the paper. “It is impossible to engage in a business which has a lot to do with getting a foreign visa. Armenian [crime] bosses are the middle echelon, while the pyramid is topped by our law-enforcers that signal to the caught pimps: ‘Don’t worry, we are with you. You will be prosecuted a bit, after which we will continue our joint business.’”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that although the Armenian parliament is officially due to go into summer recess on July 18, its corridors are already “deafened by silence.” “Even the deputies’ most beloved part of the building, the canteen, was absolutely calm yesterday,” the paper observes tartly.