Writing in “Aravot,” Artak Zakarian, a parliament deputy from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), rounds on Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian for denouncing President Serzh Sarkisian’s latest decision on Turkey. Zakarian says Oskanian thinks that doing nothing about the stalled Turkish-Armenian normalization process would have been a better option. “It becomes clear why a country like the USA was at a very limited level of cooperation with Armenia during Oskanian’s tenure as foreign minister,” he says. “During his tenure, he failed to organize a single presidential visit to the USA and a meeting with the U.S. president. Not to mention [Armenia’s] relations with another UN Security Council member, Great Britain.” The HHK lawmaker also claims that just about every international organization adopted anti-Armenian statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during former President Robert Kocharian’s rule.
“Hayots Ashkhar” accuses Turkish leaders of spreading a new “legend” about Armenian claims to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. The pro-government paper says Nakhichevan is now effectively controlled by Ankara. “The thing is that Nakhichevan has neither an overland land nor clear legal link with Azerbaijan. Nakhichevan has still not seceded from Armenia de jure because it was an integral part of the first Armenian Republic,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries a front-page picture of former President Robert Kocharian sitting on a lion which he presumably shot dead during a 2009 safari in Tanzania, Africa. The pro-opposition daily claims that such hunting trips cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Where did Robert Kocharian get that much money from?” it asks.
In an interview with “Kapital,” the chairman of the Armenian Bank Association, Ararat Ghukasian, defends the behavior of Armenian commercial banks since the outbreak of the global credit crunch. He says they were right to tighten lending last year and are still very cautious in extending loans to businesses. “It would be wrong to say today that we have returned to the pre-crisis lending activity,” says Ghukasian. “But there are prerequisites for that. Serious steps are being taken in that direction. Right now both the banks and clients are more active than before.” In his words, total bank lending to businesses rose by over 7 percent in the first quarter of this year.