Deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s latest threats to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by force are aimed at putting pressure on the Armenian side and the mediators. “At the same time, Aliyev’s latest speech is substantially different from the previous ones,” he says. “In the extensive speech, the Azerbaijani president analyzed the state of his country’s economy and presented solely brilliant results. The dominant view in Azerbaijan is that the entire country’s fate depends on a single pipeline and that the state and the people will be at risk if it is closed. In this situation, Aliyev has an illusion to convince the people in that they can also live without oil.”
Nikoyan insists that under the existing international peace plan it is the Karabakh people who will decide the region’s status and that Aliyev openly challenged this provision. “With this speech, Aliyev is sending a message not so much to the Armenian side as to the international community, the mediating countries and the three co-chairs [of the OSCE Minsk Group,]” he says.
“Hayk” comments on Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov’s claims that the conflicting parties have all but agreed on the liberation of the Azerbaijani territories surrounding Karabakh. It says Mammdyarov is already talking about the composition of international peacekeeping forces to be deployed in the conflict zone. “Obviously, if everything was that simple and depended only on Azerbaijan’s consent, the Karabakh conflict would have been resolved long ago,” says the paper. “But is unclear why the Minsk Group co-chairs are not refuting Mammadyarov’s statements.”
In an interview with “Iravunk de facto,” Karine Hakobian, the newly elected secretary of the opposition Zharangutyun party, calls for the consolidation of Armenia’s leading opposition forces. Hakobian notes that Zharangutyun has more ideological similarities with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) than Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK). “But this should not impede the realization of our common goals,” she says. “Unification also depends on the leaders of the opposition.” None of them should think that “he is higher than the others,” adds Hakobian.
“Hraparak” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian has presented Manvel Grigorian, a retired army general and former deputy defense minister, with an expensive watch on his birthday anniversary. The paper says Sarkisian did not go to Grigorian’s birthday party held at a restaurant in Echmiadzin only because he was scheduled to meet with Poland’s visiting Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. The celebration was instead attended by “other government representatives,” it says.