“Iravunk” speculates that the Armenian authorities hope that Friday’s and Saturday’s talks between Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian will collapse because of Azerbaijani intransigence. But, says the paper, Aliev is likely to agree to the peace formula envisaging an independence referendum in Karabakh and liberation of occupied Azerbaijani territories. It claims that such a deal would be unpopular in Armenia and could therefore be rejected by Kocharian.
Hakob Hakobian, a parliament deputy and prominent Karabakh war veteran, assures “Iravunk” that Kocharian will do “nothing negative” in the negotiating process. “Karabakh is the cradle of the president of the republic and he will not give the Turks anything for free,” he says. “That’s impossible. I am convinced that he would rather step down than surrender some territories.”
But as “Hayots Ashkhar” points out, those “liberated territories” are of little use without being populated by Armenians. The paper laments the lack of massive resettlement over the past 12 years.
In an interview with “Aravot,” Azerbaijani pundit Zardusht Alizade says Karabakh not only divides but also “tightly links” the Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples. He says the conflict’s resolution requires a “rational” approach from both sides. Alizade does not go into details, saying only that the two nations should genuinely embrace respect for human rights and other Western values if they are to live in peace.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” claims that the Armenian parliament’s February 8 failure to elect Armen Harutiunian as human rights ombudsman was an act of defiance directed against President Robert Kocharian by his governing coalition. The paper says the coalition parties thereby made it clear to Kocharian he must not take their support for granted.
But as an unspecified coalition member tells “Azg,” parliament deputies may have simply not liked Harutiunian and his strictly legalistic and even pedantic attitudes.
For “Yerkir,” equally surprising was the opposition minority’s decision to nominate one of its deputies, Hrant Khachatrian, for the post.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the opposition move further complicated the regime’s efforts to install Harutiunian. The paper says many pro-government deputies were visibly annoyed by the longer-than-expected debates, complaining that they have had no time to take care of their businesses this week.