Armenian Ambassador to the United States Tatul Markarian tells “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” that Armenia’s Prime Minister Andranik Markarian, parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian will pay separate visits to Washington this year.
“Golos Armenii” says that the Armenian government’s “stubborn silence” over the disputed transfer of Armenia’s electricity distribution networks is already bearing “bitter fruits,” pointing to the strongly-worded statement by the U.S. Agency for International Development. “The government’s heroic silence only reinforces the view that something is fishy here,” comments the paper.
“Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences has decided to become a tool in the Armenian authorities’ efforts to completely settle scores with the A1+ television company,” writes “Aravot.” “Academy representatives yesterday again threatened to evict A1+ from the offices which it has occupied for 14 years.”
“168 Zham” reports that Prime Minister Markarian has paid $450,000 to buy an arts salon in downtown Yerevan for his daughter. The paper says the property has been registered in the name of Markarian’s sister to avoid embarrassing questions about the money’s sources. Turning to domestic politics, the weekly says the process of constitutional reforms has enabled President Robert Kocharian to not only score points with the West but cause a serious rift in the opposition ranks. “It would not be quite honest to blame only Kocharian for this as the opposition, or at least its constitutional section, willingly took part in that process.”
“It is inappropriate and wrong to speak of a crisis in the [Artarutyun] alliance,” its top leader Stepan Demirchian tells “Aravot.” Demirchian say it is “normal” to see different approaches among the nine parties making up the alliance. “The main thing is that there are no disagreements on the need to quickly establish a new, legitimate government in the country,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” deplores the fact that Garegin Azarian was reelected on Wednesday as chairman of Armenia’s Central Election Commission without any opposition. The paper claims that unopposed elections are becoming a “tradition” in Armenia.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” quotes Deputy Defense Minister Artur Aghabekian as saying that the continuation of Armenia’s military presence in Iraq beyond this year would require the Armenian president’s and parliament’s approval. Aghabekian reminds that the National Assembly sanctioned the Armenian deployment in Iraq last December for up to one year.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that unknown individuals have burglarized the Yerevan apartment of Energy Minister Armen Movsisian. “According to official information, the thieves took away golden jewelry items and consumer goods worth $14,000.” But, adds the paper, “unofficial sources” say also stolen were “large quantities of hunting and combat weapons and ammunition.” “Movsisian is said to have a fairly rich collection of weapons and is a keen hunter.”