Armenian newspapers continue to comment on the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly’s decision not to impose sanctions against Armenia.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says the Armenian authorities were relieved by the move, even though the opposition has managed to “create a not-so-favorable image of Armenia in the West.” “The question of who won is interesting,” writes the paper. It has no clear answer to that question.
“If we talk about the authorities, then they, as the defending party, haven’t gained much [since the March 2008 unrest in Yerevan,]” continues “Hayots Ashkhar.” “But they haven’t lost anything either. Their security agencies displayed an ability to stand firm. Nobody questions that ability. And that is absolutely sufficient for a defending party.”
In a related editorial, “Aravot” says that a large proportion of Armenia’s population can not embrace European values because it has a very different, Soviet mindset.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” links the PACE decision to Wednesday’s meeting in Switzerland between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The paper suggests that the PACE would have probably imposed the sanctions if President Serzh Sarkisian had refused to meet Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliev and to accept international mediators’ current peace proposals. “The ball is in Serzh Sarkisian’s court,” it says. “He certainly has to live up to the international community’s expectations and pay a price for that resolution.”
“There is no reason to be happy or upset,” writes “Hraparak.” “The imposition of the sanctions was simply delayed. The authorities’ desire to address the PACE demands was noted and concern was expressed about the existence of political prisoners. And if we also take into account the Armenian government’s pledge to free political prisoners, then situation becomes rather favorable for the opposition.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that the World Bank’s decision to provide Armenia with more than $500 million in new loans in the next four years could not have come at a better time for the government. The paper claims that the authorities are desperate to inject more hard currency in the local market to prop up the value of the Armenian currency, the dram. “In reality, the authorities are not fighting against consequences of the crisis,” it says. “They are fighting to make sure that they don’t lost their posts as a result of the crisis. The problem is that that fight is costing Armenia dearly.”
“Kapital” reports that starting from February 2 Armenia will introduce stricter rulers for the transport of various liquids by air passengers that are already enforced in Europe and the United States for security reasons.