“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” attacks President Serzh Sarkisian for reaffirming Armenia’s readiness to ensure the liberation of Azerbaijani territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, in a Syrian newspaper interview reported on Tuesday. The opposition paper says Sarkisian had no right to “give such promises” because those territories were occupied and remain controlled by Karabakh Armenian forces.
“Zhamanak,” another pro-opposition daily, claims that representatives of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) have effectively blamed former President Robert Kocharian for the fresh criticism of Armenia’s current leadership voiced by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian. “What is more, the Republicans have come very close to blaming Kocharian for [the events of] March 1,” says the paper. “It is evident that the Republican Party has gone on an all-out offensive against Robert Kocharian, even if it is mainly doing that by singling out Vartan Oskanian as the minister responsible for mistakes on the Karabakh issue.”
Samvel Nikoyan, a deputy parliament speaker affiliated with the HHK, tells “Aravot” that efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict were not going “smoothly” even before the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. “The problem is that the persons who had for years dealt with those problems and tried to solve them have now begun to speak up,” he says. “Of course, I mean Vartan Oskanian,” adds Nikoyan. “Admittedly, Robert Kocharian made not statements on the issue yet. I mean Vartan Oskanian’s irresponsible attitude to foreign policy issues. Vartan Oskanian is trying to give domestic political solutions to foreign policy issues by calling for regime change.”
“Hayk” says the West and Russia will soon “finally understand just how far Serzh Sarkisian is ready to go” in resolving the Karabakh conflict. “And however weak Armenia is, Russia, the USA and France realize that a lasting peace in the region requires governments enjoying popular trust and that even borders must be opened by forces that received a popular mandate,” writes the opposition paper. The international community must therefore press for fresh elections in Armenia, it says.
“In relative terms, we have bigger armies than Canada or Ukraine,” David Lokian, a former agriculture minister and senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Kapital.” “In that sense, we even surpass Russia and China. Armenia’s economy is in a severe condition. We don’t nave natural resources. It’s very easy to criticize. But if the critics were in government, would we able to reduce military spending and channel it into the social sphere? No, because the state has other, overriding priorities.”