“Haykakan Zhamanak” criticizes the Armenian government’s draft budget for next year, saying that it will push up the country’s external debt to $3.5 billion by the end of 2010. The paper says the debt burden will be extremely heavy for a country like Armenia even if its economic again achieves double-digit rates of growth. It claims that the only way to manage the debt is a massive debt relief by Western donors.
“Such leniency can be only in one case: if Armenia gives the international community what it expects from Armenia,” speculates “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “And that is Turkish-Armenian relations and the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements in Washington showed that “Turkey has no desire to normalize relations with Armenia and is deliberately pushing the process of normalizing relations into deadlock.” The paper says this is making the Turkish-Armenian protocols “a useless piece of paper.” It suggests that the Turks realize that the Armenians will not accept their preconditions and are thus trying to provoke Yerevan.
“Zhamanak” says the Armenian public is amazingly indifferent to the forthcoming dispatch of Armenian troops to Afghanistan. This is so, it says, because “something important in our life has started to ebb away.” “It’s not that the society should have opposed the decision to send our peacekeepers to Afghanistan with massive street protests,” says the paper. “The problem is that the public, the forces claiming to represent the public have not even tried to comprehensively discuss that issue.”
Writing ahead of International Anti-Corruption Day, “Hraparak” dismisses stated government efforts to combat corruption as gimmicks designed to “launder foreign grants.” The paper agrees with a report released by the Armenian branch of Transparency International on Tuesday. The watchdog concluded that corruption in Armenia will remain widespread until the authorities punish “those at the top of the corruption pyramid,” tackle “the fusion of political and economic interests,” end tax evasion by the rich, break up economic monopolies, protect the due process of law and hold free and fair elections.
“Kapital” reports that the economic crisis has not seriously affected the construction of luxury apartment blocks in Yerevan. The paper say the volume of that construction work shrunk by only 4 percent during the first ten months of this year.