“Hayk” reports that President Robert Kocharian left for Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday on a “surprise visit” during which he discussed the Karabakh peace process with senior officials in Stepanakert. “But there have been no official statements about that,” says the paper. It speculates that Kocharian instructed Arkady Ghukasian to toughen his negotiating stance and thereby broaden Yerevan’s room for maneuver.
“Hayots Ashkhar,” meanwhile, predicts that a breakthrough in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks is unlikely to come about before the end of this year. “Now that it is becoming evident that Russia and the USA are working hard but do not manage to deceive each other, the likelihood of an imminent end to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is dwindling,” claims the paper. “Therefore, unless there are new unpredictable developments in the Russian-American haggling unfolding in the South Caucasus, U.S. attempts to secure a framework agreement to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict before the end of 2006 will yield no results.”
“Aravot” highlights the deplorable state of the Armenian media, saying that it is an inevitable consequence of a “coward society.” “That, of course, does not lessen the guilt of our authorities,” editorializes the paper. “An instinct of self-preservation makes them flinch when they hear something other than praise. That morbid narcissism is certainly a manifestation of their lack of broad-mindedness and their low intellect.” Government bosses are safe in the knowledge that attacks on journalists are rarely punished in Armenia, adds the paper.
Parliament speaker Tigran Torosian assures “Aravot” that the Armenian authorities will invite the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to observe next year’s parliamentary elections. “But since the election date is not yet set, it is ludicrous and meaningless to talk about inviting monitoring missions,” says Torosian. “What should they be invited to when it is not yet decided when the elections will take place?”
A spokesman for the Armenian Ministry for Agriculture tells “Taregir” that oligarch Gagik Tsarukian does not coordinate with the ministry his ongoing massive distribution of wheat and potato seeds to low-income villages across the country. The official says the ministry’s attitude to the politically motivated assistance is “very negative.”