(Saturday, October 23)
The “Aravot” daily’s editor says “not only the opposition, but also all honest people regardless of their political preferences should be demanding the release of political prisoners.”
He writes: “Politicians and intellectuals who, by reason of fear or because they have a grudge against [opposition leader] Levon [Ter-Petrosian], keep silent or cynically claim that we have no political prisoners do not deserve respect… But let’s be realistic and acknowledge that if this issue is ever resolved, the role of citizens of Armenia in it will hardly be decisive. The authorities may take this step only under the pressure of international organizations and, of course, primarily of the Council of Europe.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” analyzes the Friday announcement of another scheduled meeting between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to discuss Karabakh and to be hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan on October 27, saying that the previous announcements made as recently as several days before would only speak about a possibility of holding such a meeting no sooner than December 1-2, at an OSCE summit in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
“Until then [Friday] no word had been spoken about a meeting initiated by any of the co-chair countries [ed. including Russia, the U.S. and France]. The impression is that the Medvedev-initiated meeting in Astrakhan was organized at lightening speed -- within a matter of hours,” the pro-opposition daily writes.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Council of Europe sanctions “sought by [opposition leader] Levon Ter-Petrosian” will hit Armenia’s European integration programs. The country’s international prestige, it further suggests, will also be at stake “in the unlikely event of the Council of Europe and its parliamentary assembly caving in to Ter-Petrosian’s poignant demands and either stripping the Armenian delegation of its voting rights or expelling it from the organization.”
“It is clear that such adverse developments would be a very heavy blow to the international prestige of the country, especially if we consider the fact that European integration is among the priorities of Armenia’s foreign policy. Consequently, the sanctions sought by Ter-Petrosian, especially the suspension or termination of Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe, will directly affect the implementation of programs within this framework,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar”.
“Hraparak” asks secretary of the parliamentary faction of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) Aram Safarian whether “the presidential administration demands that the BHK reveal its candidate for the next election.” Safarian replies: “This issue was discussed by the BHK faction a few months ago and we have a clear position: the issue of the presidential candidate will be discussed only after the 2012 parliamentary elections.”
To the paper’s request to comment on the recent allegations that the BHK will “fail to get more than 10 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections unless it states its support for [current president] Serzh Sarkisian, Safarian says: “I believe that we will have free and fair elections and we shall get as many votes as the people gives us. I don’t believe that it is being seriously discussed anywhere as to who will get how many votes a year and a half before the actual elections.”
“Zhamanak” reports that a popular Armenian singer, Tata, who is currently in the United States, has been summoned by the country’s law-enforcement authorities to testify as part of an ongoing investigation into a multimillion medical insurance fraud in which dozens of members of a suspected Armenian American criminal group have been arrested and charged.
“The U.S. law-enforcers have found out that Tata has direct ties with some individuals who are being prosecuted,” the paper writes.