(Saturday, June 24)
“Aravot” finds “somewhat odd” the fact that the new U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Matthew Bryza, has disclosed, in an interview with RFE/RL, the main points of a framework peace accord discussed by Armenia and Azerbaijan. “True, there have been such revelations during the nearly 12-year history of the Karabakh peace process,” writes the paper. “But they have been made in the form of media leaks and always marked the failure of [a particular round of] negotiations.”
“What does all this mean?” asks “Azg.” “Are the co-chairs going on the offensive?” The paper says it is not clear if the mediators are making a last-ditch attempt to impose a peace deal on Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian or are simply implementing their exit strategy. It suggests that by disclosing details of the proposed Karabakh settlement Washington sought to “cause some stir.”
“Aravot” reports that Artur Baghdasarian delivered an opposition-style speech to a conference of the women’s organization of his Orinats Yerkir party. “A concentration of power and money is underway,” Baghdasarian said. “Its aim is to buy everything, to take anyone moving and breathing under control.” Baghdasarian said government forces are trying to tell Armenians that “in this country election results are worth nothing.” “This is definitely not the case and we must jointly fight for having a normal electoral system,” he added.
According to “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,” Baghdasarian used the word “fight” for 15 times during his 13-minute speech.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s Republican Party (HHK) is to meet for an emergency conference next month which might produce, according to HHK sources, “a number of surprises.” The paper notes that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian will not surprise anyone if he states at the gathering that he will contest next year’s parliamentary election on the HHK ticket. “It will be a surprise if Serzh Sarkisian does not announce that,” it says. “For him, the prime aim is the presidential elections of 2008 during which he has to present himself as the regime’s single candidate.” That, according to the paper, requires the existence of a “powerful support base” in Armenia’s new parliament. The HHK will hardly be able to win a parliament majority on its own if Kocharian throws his weight behind Gagik Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia party. In that case, Sarkisian will not necessarily be guaranteed parliament support.
Meanwhile, one of the HHK leaders, parliament speaker Tigran Torosian, implicitly warns Prosperous Armenia as well as another new party reputedly sponsored by Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian, against vote buying. Answering questions from “Golos Armenii” readers, Torosian says the two parties risk “jeopardizing not only themselves but also the entire multi-party system of Armenia.” “I hope they will finally realize that a party of money poses a danger to the entire society and that the 2007 parliament will not be a parliament of parties of money,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the mayors of several Yerevan districts as well as two regional governors have joined the HHK recently.