In an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian says Azerbaijani threats to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by force should not be taken seriously. “It is not only up to Azerbaijan to start hostilities [in Karabakh] now,” he says. “Serious investments were made [in Azerbaijan] because of assurances that war is out of question. So in that regard, Azerbaijan’s and [Ilham] Aliev’s possibilities are quite limited. They would resort to such step only in the event of extreme, drastic deviations. Which they understand would be fraught with numerous serious consequences for them.” That would be Azerbaijan’s “last war attempt,” according to Oskanian.
Manuk Gasparian, an independent Armenian parliamentarian, tells “Azg” that getting a seat in the National Assembly will cost much more in next year’s parliamentary elections. In his words, during the previous election wealthy Armenians had to spend at least $200,000 to get elected on an individual basis and $150,000 to be included on a party list. Gasparian claims that they will have to pay at least $500,000 next year. The outspoken lawmaker sounds supremely confident about his recently created Democratic Path Party’s ability to win the 2007 vote. Gasparian also says he will not run for president in 2008 because “I hate that post with all its trappings.”
Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Filaret Berikian responds to an “Aravot” report that he too has built a plush villa in Yerevan. In a letter published by the paper, Berikian says that he only has a modest “one-and-a-half-story house” and calls the report “slander.”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” the director of an art museum in Yerevan and a prominent intellectual, Henrik Igitian, says Armenians must not lose their “national identity” in an era of globalization. Igitian, who is a staunch supporter of President Robert Kocharian, also hits out at the West for pressing for political reform in Armenia. “Let Europe and America put their own house in order first and only then enter our family with their dirty mores,” he says. “How can we come to terms with the notion that we too must have homosexuals, members of [religious] sects? Are we supposed to import all that crap?”