Armen Rustamian, a member of the Armenian delegation at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), admits in an interview with “Azg” that Armenia has failed to fully comply with PACE resolutions and may well be penalized next week. “There may be two basic reasons for that,” he says. “One -- whose logic guided the PACE’s Monitoring Committee, which I consider wrong -- is that there is no political will and that we had enough time and could have solved that issue. But because we have failed to solve it there is no such political will.”
“That does not correspond to reality,” continues Rustamian. “If the issue is to be solved within the framework of Armenian legislation, by legal means, that legal way means we can’t bypass the judicial system.” He suggests that the Armenian authorities simply did not have enough time to meet all PACE demands.
“Representatives of the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia don’t want to confess that they have a substantial influence on the dram’s exchange rate, even though everyone knows that,” writes “Kapital.” The business daily contends that the exchange rate is not exactly market-based and that the CBA is injecting hard currency into the financial market to shore up the Armenian currency. “In recent months the Central Bank has been busy mainly selling dollars and, according to our estimates, has spent about 15 percent of [Armenia’s] external reserves,” it says.
In an interview with “Iravunk de facto,” Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian defends his reform record and says, in particular, that various inquiries ordered by him into alleged abuses of power are not gimmicks. “It is important for the country as a whole and the [government] system that every official know that we can’t ignore any deed unacceptable to the public,” he says. Sarkisian says his government has reacted “seriously” to relevant reports appearing in the Armenian press. “The guilty have been punished, fired,” he says.
“Taregir” reports that a man arrested last November on suspicion of assaulting investigative journalist Edik Baghdasarian continues to protest his innocence. “However, the investigation is continuing,” says the report. “On the other hand, criminal cases on the violence against ‘Haykakan Zhamanak’ correspondent Lusine Barseghian and Radio Liberty’s Hrach Melkumian have been suspended.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” refutes a newspaper report that implicated Deputy Health Minister Tatul Hakobian in the beating of a former deputy minister of energy in a Yerevan restaurant.
Lragir.am comments on government loyalists’ claims that the PACE is applying double standards to Armenia and Azerbaijan. They argue that Azerbaijan also has political prisoners and has a more repressive political system but does not risk losing its voting rights at the PACE. The online journal does not find this argument utterly convincing. It says the PACE is a political body and nobody should be surprised that the organization is pursuing political aims in this region.