“I don’t think that the co-chairs [of the OSCE Minsk Group] have new proposals, but in any case [U.S. co-chair] Matthew Bryza’s visit [to Stepanakert] is a good opportunity to present the position of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic,” NKR President Arkady Ghukasian is quoted by “Azg” as saying. Ghukasian again signals his opposition to a referendum of self-determination in Nagorno-Karabakh proposed by the mediators. “If we had guarantees today that the international community would recognize tomorrow’s referendum, then we would think about that,” he says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says both the authorities in Stepanakert and Yerevan will tell Bryza that the Karabakh Armenians’ return to the negotiating table is the only “effective way” to break the deadlock.
“Hayots Ashkhar” sees similarities and differences between the situations in Karabakh and the former Yugoslav province of Kosovo. “The difference is that Kosovo itself holds negotiations with Serbia, while Nagorno-Karabakh does not,” says the paper. “Secondly, Kosovo is controlled by international forces, while Karabakh itself defends its borders.”
Interviewed by “Azg,” Armenian Ambassador to Lebanon Vahan Ter-Ghevondian expresses concern at the fate of the Lebanese Armenian community which he considers one of the most important in the Diaspora. “It is very important that the community holds firm,” says Ter-Ghevondian. “The community is part of the Lebanese people who received with open arms the remnants of our people who survived the genocide and allowed the Armenians to build a thriving community. We can not forget this and must not create the impression that the Armenians [of Lebanon] fled the country during a difficult time.”
In an interview with “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun,” a senior member of the ruling Republican Party (HHK), Razmik Martirosian, admits that its ongoing strengthening is somewhat “artificial” and that the HHK risks imploding like the former ruling HHSh did in 1998.
“Many local politicians and officials are in a state of panic after the HHK congress,” editorializes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “They have to orient themselves quickly: the HHK or Prosperous Armenia. Making a wrong choice is impermissible and extremely dangerous here.” The paper says the HHK clearly holds more promise, while Prosperous Armenia “keeps committing mistakes.”
Smbat Ayvazian, a leader of the opposition Hanrapetutyun party, assures “Aravot” that President Robert Kocharian will fail to become prime minister after completing his second term in office in 2008. “It is unserious to talk about such a thing,” he says. “Can you imagine Kocharian becoming an ordinary Armenian politician and continuing to work under Serzh’s tutelage after his presidency? As a president, Serzh Sarkisian would be a much stronger than Robert Kocharian holding the post of prime minister.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” reports that a son of Transport Minister Andranik Manukian is to marry a daughter of Prosperous Armenia leader Gagik Tsarukian soon. “The bride’s wedding dress was initially ordered from Versace, but the renowned firm said it is unable to execute the order at such a short notice,” claims the paper. “The order was accepted by Christian Dior. The dress will cost only $100,000.”