(Saturday, November 15)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on President Serzh Sarkisian’s unannounced visit to Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh usually become informed of any planned visit of a high-ranking official at least two days before it takes place. The fact that they were taken by surprise when Serzh Sarkisian arrived proves that his visit was organized in haste – so hastily that even the main evening news on the Karabakh public television did not say a single word about Sarkisian’s being in town on Friday.”
“Hraparak’s” editor writes on the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh: “As my Karabakhi friend told me, never before had Nagorno-Karabakh lived through such a time of anxious waiting. People have grown naïve over the past 20 years, they have had this relaxed attitude based on their assuredness that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status would not be raised anymore and that Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence, no matter whether it is [internationally] recognized or not, is a reality that the world has to reckon with. And suddenly, Nagorno-Karabakh’s people find out that it is not quite so, as not only Nagorno-Karabakh’s status is at stake, but also there is a real danger of the return of Azerbaijanis. And a Karabakhi knows well that if an Azeri feels there is a chance to get Karabakh back and it depends on him personally, he will come. All that will be needed for that is to solve the housing problems for those coming in and it will be done due to Azerbaijan’s petrodollars and the money of international organizations.”
The editor continues: “And what will be then?” – I asked my friend. “No Armenian will remain in Karabakh,” he answered. “Nothing will be achieved with the delayed referendum that is to be held ten years from now.’”
“Aravot” publishes an interview with Yerjanik Abgarian, a leading opposition figure and member of the Armat center that embraces several veteran representatives of the former ruling party.
“I think that there will be pre-term presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia no later than next spring,” he tells the paper.
To the question whether the Nagorno-Karabakh issue would play an essential part in case of such a scenario, Abgarian replies: “All issues will have their share. Nagorno-Karabakh, of course, is a very painful issue. If we fail in this issue, we will break our people for the second time during the past 100 years. But why do we forget that the country faces a bad economic and social situation as well?”
At the same time, the oppositionist sees no opportunity for the former president, Robert Kocharian, to make a comeback as a major policymaker: “Nor do I believe that any differences exist between Robert Kocharian and [incumbent president] Serzh Sarkisian. Kocharian is a political corpse, a retiree, if, of course, he manages to remain in that status, because he is responsible not only for the March 1 [deadly post-election clashes]. He had twice usurped power and numerous [high-profile] murders were committed during his presidency.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” sardonically writes on the opposition’s claims that the ‘March 1’ case is ‘fake’: “[Former president and current opposition leader Levon] Ter-Petrosian and his associates sincerely believe that they have managed to convince everyone that the case is ‘fake’ and that it is the authorities that organized the ‘slaughter’. And if the special investigation service, the parliamentary ad hoc commission and the newly set up fact-finding group have not yet responded to their delirium, then, according to the opposition, it means they are right. But if so, then the Ter-Petrosian movement was also ‘fake’ – there was no crowd participating in a 10-day nonstop protest action in Opera Square in late February and there was no ‘dislodgement’ of that protest, there was peace and tranquility near the Myasnikian monument, and so on.”
“Zhamanak-Yerevan” quotes a Turkish expert as saying that “engaging Armenia in the Nabucco [natural gas pipeline] project is one of the main goals of the United States and the European Union at present.”
According to Sinan Ogan, of the Turkish Strategic Research Center, the project was discussed also during US Vice-President Dick Cheney’s visit to Azerbaijan in September.
“But this, as well as all other projects, hinge upon the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the Armenian daily quotes Ogan as saying. It continues: “Ogan also reminded that still in the mid-1990s the United States made great efforts to involve Armenia in the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project. It turns out that the European Union’s goal of reducing its dependence on Russian gas directly depends on the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.”