Citing the latest statements by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev and their rebuttal by the Armenian side, “Hayots Ashkhar” says the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group seem to be far from achieving the main goal of their ongoing visit to the conflict zone. “The co-chairs’ region visit has so far only stoked the continuing exchange of verbal fire between the parties, promising to produce no concrete results,” writes the paper. “That allows one to presume that there are different motives, which have nothing to do with Armenia’s presidential elections or the Azerbaijani president’s routine language exercises, behind the hastiness shown by the international community.”
“Our task during the election campaign will be not to smear or criticize somebody but to present our program and to prove during a serious political debate that our program is the most realistic one,” Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s campaign spokesman, Eduard Sharmazanov, tells “Aravot.” “We don’t have to love each other. But we must be tolerant. An atmosphere of mutual respect is very important.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that Levon Ter-Petrosian’s return to politics has forced Sarkisian to abandon his plans to win the presidential election already in the first round of voting. “Changes in public mood have forced the authorities to realize that that plan is not feasible,” says the pro-Ter-Petrosian paper. “This is why they in the ruling elite have begun preparations for the second round ranging from a re-distribution of financial resources to risk assessment.”
“Hayk” reveals that the chief of the Armenian police, Hayk Harutiunian, took disciplinary action on December 30 against some 40 police officers accused of abuse of power. “Police abuses are widespread,” says the paper. “Violations were found in the police departments of several communities in Yerevan and various regions of Armenia.”
“168 Zham” reports that the prices of air tickets in Armenia have grown by about $20 since the beginning of this month. The paper says local and foreign airlines blame the U.S. dollar’s weakening for the price rise.