U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza’s visit to Nagorno-Karabakh is construed by a senior member of the Dashnaktsutyun party, Giro Manoyan, as a sign that the international mediators are considering bringing Stepanakert back into the negotiating process. Manoyan tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that before agreeing to a future referendum of independence in Karabakh the Armenian side must make sure that Azerbaijan can not thwart the vote or reject its results. “If the parties agree to hold a referendum clarifying Karabakh’s status three or five years after signing an accord, it must be made clear that in case of a failure to hold it for any reason Karabakh will automatically become a part of Armenia,” he says.
Commenting on Bryza’s statements made during his regional tour, “Azg” suggests that Washington finds it possible for the Karabakh conflict to be resolved in the first half of 2007. The paper says this also means that the mediators do not think that an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal will be cut before the end of this year.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” rejects the widely held belief that the Prosperous Armenia party of “oligarch” Gagik Tsarukian is the brainchild of President Robert Kocharian that will challenge Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) in next year’s parliamentary election. The paper insists that the creation of Prosperous Armenia was part of Sarkisian’s political strategy. “Very soon Prosperous Armenia too will find itself under Serzh Sarkisian’s control,” it says.
Former ombudsperson Larisa Alaverdian tells “Aravot” that only a “very small group” of Armenian citizens can now make use of their constitutionally guaranteed human and civil rights. Alaverdian laments what she calls a “merger of capital, the government system, the security agencies and the criminal underworld” and a further polarization of Armenian society. “In a normal country this would be of great concern [to those in power,]” she says.