“Azg” suggests that former President Robert Kocharian may well have traveled to Iran on Serzh Sarkisian’s assignment and that there is nothing wrong with that. “It’s just that such things are seen as extraordinary in Armenia,” writes the paper. “And one should not be surprised by the fact that delicate issues are being discussed with our southern neighbor, in this case at the level of Armenia’s second president.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that having failed to trigger “upheavals” from within the country, the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) is now trying to put the authorities under pressure from Western structures, notably the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). The paper points to HAK calls for the PACE to impose sanctions on Armenia and the controversy surrounding the removal of an opposition member of the Armenian delegation in the assembly.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” criticizes the PACE for approving the change in the delegation’s composition. “In sum, Armenia’s relations with the Council of Europe are being slowly clarified and it is becoming evident that they [the Europeans] have finally given up on Armenia,” says the paper. “Hopefully our society too will arrive at such a conclusion and rely only on itself. In that case, something may work out.”
“Zhamanak” asks a spokesman for Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian to comment on reports that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents have agreed on the preamble of the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement. “In general, so-called preambles of any documents usually do not envisage any concrete steps,” says David Babayan. Therefore, he says, the reported agreement is not enough to “make judgments about the entire framework for the conflict’s resolution.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on the governing coalition’s draft legal amendments that would toughen penalties for libel offences in Armenia. The paper believes that the bill would make it much easier for the authorities to muzzle media with heftier fines. “In a country like Armenia, where judges can unjustly jail an innocent person for years on political orders, doesn’t the introduction of such a legal instrument mean that the Armenian authorities intend to create legislative mechanisms for destroying journalists financially and shutting down media?” it says. “The real offenders and slanderers will remain unpunished.”
“Kapital” reports that Armenian farmers suffered serious losses in 2009 as a result of a slump in Armenian exports of potatoes and domestic potatoes sales. “This year farmers in the Shirak and Lori regions will be able to grow sugar beet instead of potatoes, which will be more lucrative,” says the business daily. “According to Agriculture Minister Gerasim Alaverdian, a sugar plant with a capacity of 220,000 tons a year will go into service in the Akhurian region by the end of May.”