“Hayots Ashkhar” blasts Freedom House for describing Armenia as a “semi-consolidated authoritarian” country in its latest “Nations in Transit” survey. “Unable or unwilling to register progress in our country, the Freedom House international human rights organization has also failed to register any tangible regress,” notes the pro-presidential daily. “While not seeking to argue with Freedom House over one or another shortcoming in the area of democracy and human rights protection registered in Armenia in 2009, we want to pose a question to the esteemed human rights defenders. If they as well as the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, reported a catastrophic decline in human rights protection in Azerbaijan, why don’t they resort to concrete steps to defend citizens of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic against Azerbaijan’s probable attacks?”
“Hraparak” suggests that the Karabakh Armenians will not allow Armenia to give back any land to Azerbaijan. “This is the consequence that could stem from Karabakh representatives’ exclusion from the negotiating process,” says the paper. “Various experts have warned of that for many years. And what will Armenia’s president do if he agrees to some [peace] document and believes he has clinched the best possible concessions from the opposite side but the people of Karabakh … consider that a complete defeat and do not intend to do what they are told to and respect the Armenian president’s signature?”
Giro Manoyan, a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Hraparak” that there is no direct connection between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the region and the weekend statement on the Karabakh conflict issued by the U.S., Russian and French presidents. “But it is clear that in both Armenia and Azerbaijan Clinton will negotiate along the lines of that statement,” says Manoyan.
In an interview with “168 Zham,” the president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Mevlut Cavusoglu, says Armenia has still “a lot do to” in democratizing its political system. Cavusoglu argues that nobody has been held accountable for the deaths of ten people in Yerevan in March 2008. “That is a very important issue,” he says. The Turkish politician also says that the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border “depends on Armenia.” “This is the view of the Turkish government, not myself,” he adds. “Evidently, unless Armenia withdraws troops from the occupied territories, the [Turkish-Armenian] protocols will not be ratified, and all Turkish parties agree with that.”
Cavusoglu further brands as “liars” those Armenian politicians and pundits who accuse him of pro-Azerbaijani bias. “I have never tried to punish Armenia,” he says. “I made a very successful trip to Armenia in May. All countries are equal to me, including Turkey.” Claims to the contrary are “a display racism against myself,” concludes the PACE head.