(Saturday, October 11)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” expresses concern at the current state of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, pouncing on Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian’s implicit statement that the parties have reached agreement on the pivotal issue of Karabakh’s status. “Who said that Karabakh’s status is vital for us while the return of the liberated territories is not?” asks the paper. “And, generally speaking, who did Eduard Nalbandian mean when he said ‘for us?’ If he meant the ruling political coalition, then he is badly mistaken. The Dashnaks, for example, say that they are categorically against returning the liberated territories on any condition.”
“Hraparak” links the latest developments in the Karabakh peace process to domestic Armenian politics. The paper says Yerevan is pressing ahead with major concessions to Azerbaijan because it feels increasingly confident in the standoff with the Armenian opposition.
“168 Zham” considers the current system of military draft in Armenia one of the main reasons for the decline in educational standards. “In order to dodge military service, young people want to get enrolled in university at any cost,” says the paper, adding that this is also why many bright students are unable to continue their studies at the post-graduate level. “Let us also mention the disgraceful corruption which the army foists on the institutions of higher education,” it says.
“Hayots Ashkhar” contends that Levon Ter-Petrosian and his opposition movement are disinterested in letting the public find out the full truth about the March 1 clashes in Yerevan. “What they need is to exploit [the issue] in order to stay on the arena for some time and, in case of emergency, to save their skin and avoid prosecution,” says the pro-government paper. “Furthermore, they inherently can not stand the truth.”
“Aravot” reports that Aram Karapetian, the leader of the opposition Nor Zhamanakner (New Times) party, is holding “yet another round of negotiations with the current authorities over the establishment of a third force and his hegemony over the opposition.” “According to our sources, the authorities hope that they can thereby split the [Ter-Petrosian-led] popular movement that has played the pivotal role in the opposition camp over the past year,” says the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” ridicules the National Security Service (NSS) for letting French-Armenian opposition activist Sarkis Hatspanian re-enter Armenia months after his residency permit was revoked by former President Robert Kocharian. “This means that [Osama] bin Laden or any other world-famous terrorist can easily enter and leave Armenia without the knowledge of our special services,” claims the opposition daily.