(Saturday, December 5)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” criticizes the Armenian government for accepting the territorial integrity of states as one of the principles of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during the OSCE conference in Athens. The pro-opposition paper says President Serzh Sarkisian has two options after agreeing to a solution which it says would be “ruinous” for the Armenian side. “He himself organizes a wave of popular protests, steps down under its pressure and thus continues to play a cat-and-mouse game with the international community,” it speculates. “Alternatively, he takes certain steps and resigns, doing everything to form a normal democratic system in Armenia.”
“Golos Armenii” comments on Azerbaijan’s decision to withdraw a draft anti-Armenian resolution on Karabakh from the agenda of the UN General Assembly. “Clearly, Azerbaijan’s president was forced to withdraw the draft from the General Assembly session,” says the paper. It says although General Assembly resolutions are not binding, their significance should not be underestimated.
“Unlike in Azerbaijan, in our country freedom of speech is used for attacking the authorities, which is normal,” deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” “But when it comes to the objectives of the nation and the state, that approach becomes incomprehensible and unacceptable. The Azerbaijani media writes what the Azerbaijani authorities say. Our opposition newspapers repeat that and it looks as though Armenian media outlets are propagating the views of the Azerbaijani authorities. And without any comments. Conversely, allegations about the handover of territories and Karabakh’s sellout appear in the Azerbaijani press the same day. And so ordinary Azerbaijanis develop a false view that if they press a little more, the Armenians will give up.”
In an editorial, “Aravot” says that the “culture of dialogue” advocated by President Serzh Sarkisian is not coming into existence in Armenia primarily because of the authorities. The paper says the latter “shut down the arenas where that dialogue could take place.” “In the contemporary world, that is the television air in the first instance,” it says. “There is no real pluralism on our air.”
In an interview with “168 Zham,” Deputy Finance Minister Pavel Safarian defends “uneven” spending cuts envisaged by the Armenian government’s draft budget for next year. He dismisses the paper’s arguments that the government would like to spend less on education but more on the presidential and parliamentary staffs. “In effect, current expenditures in the education sector are kept at the 2009 level. Cuts concern only capital expenditures,” argues Safarian.