(Saturday, February 13)
Ahead of the eighth convention of the union of Karabakh war veterans, Yerkrapah, slated for February 16, “Aravot” learned that none of the organization’s members who supported the bid of ex-president and current opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian in the 2008 presidential election would participate in it either as delegates or invited guests.
“I am convinced that this is the desire of the Yerkrapah ‘elite’. No government will allow a structure like Yerkrapah to stay out of its control,” Husik Barseghian, a former commander of the Masis self-defense detachment, tells the newspaper on this account. He further voices doubts that the convention will take place at all, but if it does take place, he adds, then “[it will be] according to an arranged scenario agreed with the country’s top leadership.”
Justice Minister Gevorg Danielian brushes aside speculations about certain prison convicts not being provided with due medical treatment. In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar”, the minister also answers the human rights defender, who raises the issue of the treatment of Sasun Mikaelian, a former parliament member now serving an eight-year prison sentence after being convicted on charges stemming from his alleged role in the 2008 post-election clashes.
“The decision regarding the method of treatment is made solely on the basis of findings of a medical commission. It cannot be a legal matter, nor can it be solved on the basis of an administrative-legal petition,” the minister underscores in reference to Mikaelian’s case.
An Armenian think tank expert believes that the recent statement by the director of the United States’ national intelligence about an increased likelihood of another Armenian-Azerbaijani war for Nagorno-Karabakh is a message to Russia rather than pressure on Armenia.
Ruben Mehrabian, of the Armenian Center for Political and International Studies, tells ”Zhamanak” that “the addressee of this message is not Armenia, but Russia, which during the past several months has shown unprecedented activity in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement and has applied separate tripartite formats.” “In this context that statement simply is a warning about what that activity could result in if it continued without any eventual progress being made. And two or three days after [that statement was made] the Russians started to talk about the possibility of tensions over Iran growing into a war.”
Specialist in oriental studies, Ambassador David Hovannisian calls the political debate on the Armenian-Turkish relations “an empty talk” aimed at diverting public attention from Armenia’s domestic problems.
“While Armenia’s economy has reached an extremely disastrous condition, this seems a very convenient way of diverting [public] attention, because Armenian-Turkish relations are a very sensitive issue for our people,” Hovannisian tells the “Meronk” daily.
“Kapital” asks Armenian Copper Programme cjsc Executive Director Gagik Arzumanian to comment on the statement by Russia’s trade representative in Armenia Alexander Zaytsev, made on January 22, according to which the Russian VTB Bank was suspending the funding of the development of Teghut mines in north-eastern Armenia because of the financial-economic crisis.
“The information about the indefinite suspension of the VTB loan program for the implementation of the Teghut project does not correspond to the facts. The mentioned statement concerns the general slowdown and suspension of the programs being implemented by the Russian Federation in Armenia. However, during the same press conference it was stressed that preparatory work in connection with the Teghut project financing was in progress. Negotiations with VTB Bank now continue, and we hope that in the coming months it will be possible to receive funding from the bank,” the company’s official tells the business daily.