“Haykakan Zhamanak” reveals several “interesting details” of Monday’s official opening of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline. The paper says the natural gas which fuelled a ceremonial torch lit by Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Robert Kocharian came not from the pipeline but a “gas tank hidden nearby.” “The reason for that is that contrary to official statements work on the pipeline is not yet complete,” it explains. The paper also complains that only correspondents for Armenian and Iranian state televisions were allowed to put questions to the two presidents.
“Hayots Ashkhar” speaks out against the participation of Armenian government officials in the March 29 opening of a newly renovated 10th century Armenian church in southeastern Turkey. “Any church becomes a temple of faith only when a cross symbolizing the suffering of Jesus is placed on its steeple,” writes the paper, adding that the Turkish authorities have so far refused to allow the Istanbul Patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic Church to do that. “If the Turks really want to open the Church of the Holy Cross on [the island of] Akhtamar, then they must first allow the placement of a holy cross on its steeple. But if they are trying to use monuments on the territory seized by them for propaganda purposes, then as a state we have nothing to do in such an event.”
“Iravunk” makes the point that the international community is not interested in regime change in Armenia. “The current regime is thereby being allowed to implement old agreements on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict,” editorializes the paper. It says Western reaction to the Armenian elections will therefore be “quite soft.”
“Hayk” reports that prosecutors in the Armenian province of Shirak have opened a criminal case against Romik Manukian, the regional governor affiliated with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), for allegedly forging his diploma of higher education. The paper says Manukian will go on leave on March 28 and may never get back to work.
In a separate report, “Hayk” says one of the bodyguards of Levon Sargsian, a controversial parliament deputy affiliated with the governing Republican Party (HHK), has been questioned by law-enforcement authorities in connection with last September’s assassination of senior tax official Shahen Hovasapian. “So far we have only managed to clarify his name: Armen. Presumably, Armen was arrested after the interrogation,” the paper says.
“Aravot” says a new opinion has found that almost 70 percent of residents of Yerevan intend to take part in the May parliamentary elections. “But pollsters say that the figure is not quite realistic,” the paper says, adding that only just over a half of the eligible voters in the capital will likely cast ballots.