“Azg” says recent statements by Azerbaijani leaders amount to a rejection of the Minsk Group’s Karabakh peace plan and calls on the Armenian government to seek “international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh.” “Azerbaijan’s intransigent stance, which goes against the international community, is the best opportunity to do that,” says the paper. It also claims that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan could meet on the sidelines of this month’s G8 summit in Saint Petersburg.
According to “Aravot,” the Minsk Group co-chairs’ calls for a public debate in Armenia and Azerbaijan on their peace proposals is a “quite sound phenomenon in itself.” “But when the very subject of discussion is missing, all kinds of debates on it remain mere statements taken out of thin air,” adds the paper. “The plan’s not being published enables the authorities in Armenia and Azerbaijan to cite, for domestic use, those of its elements which will not cast them in treacherous and defeatist light.”
Political expert Aleksandr Iskandarian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that ordinary people in Azerbaijan realize that their leaders’ regular threats to win back Karabakh are little more than empty talk. “[Ilham] Aliev’s promises that ‘we will get rich in 15-20 years, regain Karabakh’ only means the following, ‘Do not impede, let us make money,’” claims Iskandarian.
Another, Azerbaijani analyst, Zardusht Alizade, tells “Aravot” that Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian are “absolutely” unable to find an alternative solution to the Karabakh dispute on their own, an idea suggested by the Minsk Group co-chairs. “This is what they wanted and dreamed about,” he says. “The OSCE Minsk Group, at least on paper, was the force that was compelling these regimes to take steps [towards peace].” Alizade believes that the co-chairs’ decision to effectively freeze their mediating efforts was good for both Aliev and Kocharian. “They will now blame everything on the Minsk Group and deceive their peoples by saying, ‘See, the mediators have raised their hands and are unable to bring us to agreement,’” he says.
“Azg” reports that the State Taxation Service has published the list of 72 mining enterprises that claim to be making zero profits. “The list includes virtually all of Armenia’s stone quarries whose owners claim to have not operated them and not earned profits,” says the paper. “Isn’t it evident that in reality those quarries are being exploited and stones extracted from them are widely used in the burgeoning construction sector? Armenia’s natural resources continue to be plundered and millions of dollars fail to enter the state budget.”