“Azg” comments on Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s response to Karabakh leader Arkady Ghukasian’s calls for Armenia’s withdrawal from peace talks with Azerbaijan. “Vartan Oskanian’s explanation absolutely does not shed light on the NKR president’s motives for making public his disagreements with Armenia’s leadership,” says the paper, questioning Yerevan’s arguments that the NKR will join the peace process at a later stage. The paper fears that the Karabakh Armenians will only be asked to rubber-stamp an agreement reached by Armenia and Azerbaijan.
As “168 Zham” points out, the NKR leadership wants to participate and have a say in the “process of ascertaining principles” of the Karabakh settlement.
“Vartan Oskanian seems to respond to Arkady Ghukasian by stating indirectly that Armenia has no intention to pull out of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper’s correspondent in Stepanakert reports that Ghukasian’s calls were both surprising and anticipated for many in Karabakh. “Virtually political forces in the NKR defend the president’s view, insisting that everything must be done to render Karabakh a negotiating party.”
According to Armenia’s former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian, Ghukasian may well have made his statements with President Robert Kocharian’s consent. Arzumanian suggests in a “Haykakan Zhamanak” interview that they may be part of a “joint threat addressed to Azerbaijan and the international community after the collapse of the Rambouillet talks.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” brands as “disgraceful” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement in Baku that he will invite Kocharian to Moscow for urgent discussions on Karabakh. “The statements by the president of the Russian Federation are humiliating for Armenia because they mean that at the request of Azerbaijan’s president Russia’s president can plan Karabakh-related steps that at least need to be tentatively clarified. Not only did Putin fail to take this into account but also used language which is normally used by heads of state with regard to their subordinates.”
“Those six deputies who withdrew their appeals on the legality of construction going on in the center [of Yerevan] showed disdain for state mentality,” writes “Azg.” “They preferred parochial interests to the mission of a deputy, responsibility before their voters and their conscience.”
“Aravot” carries the pictures of those deputies. “Nobody doubted that some of our deputies are so worried about their ears that they are even prepared to run over their own dignity to avoid angering their bosses because they know for certain that retribution would be harsh,” says the paper. It claims that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian personally told each of them that they must “go to the Constitutional Court and take their signatures back if they want to be deputies in the next National Assembly.”
One of those lawmakers, Vladimir Badalian, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that he backtracked on his endorsement of the opposition appeal to the Constitutional Court “so that people’s passions are not inflamed again” and “in order to prevent the issue from becoming a tool in the hands of one or another political force.” Besides, says Badalian, “the issue has effectively been closed.” “We signed [the appeal] at a time when the issue was still timely and it was still possible to make the problem budge,” he says.