(Saturday, December 4)
Saturday’s press in Armenia continued to focus on the results of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) summit that was held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on December 1-2 and, among other issues, discussed the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Khosrov Harutiunian, who sits on the Public Council, a body affiliated with President Serzh Sarkisian, tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that it would be a ‘very dangerous thing’ for Azerbaijan to continue its war rhetoric after the Astana summit as it would be tantamount to ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ not just to Armenia, but primarily to the powers that jointly head the OSCE Minsk Group on Karabakh, i.e. Russia, the United States and the European Union, represented by France, as well as all 56 OSCE-member states.
“In this sense, the Astana meeting will, undoubtedly, go down in history as a major milestone in the Karabakh peace process that offered the parties a chance for continuing and intensifying the process on the basis of the already accepted benchmark approaches,” said Harutiunian.
The opposition “Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” newspaper, on the contrary, sees the main outcome of the latest OSCE summit in the confirmation of the organization’s being ‘defunct’.
“The debate over the text of the final document went on till midnight, and in the end they passed a document full of vague wording in which the only clear statement is that conflicts should be resolved without the use of force. But this in itself is a rather silly statement to make, because during the 3,000-year history of civilization all sorts of conflicts, always and everywhere, have been resolved solely through the use of force. Moreover, the ‘core members’ of the OSCE itself have repeatedly done so. For some reason the Americans used force in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Russians did the same in Moldova and South Ossetia. And it is not clear why the rules have now changed. That is, the final document adopted in Astana is a formal piece of paper that nobody takes seriously,” the paper claims.
In the run-up to the announcement of the outcomes of broadcast licensing competitions scheduled by the National Commission on Television and Radio for December 16, “Hraparak” talks to the owner of one of the bidding companies, ALM Holding, Tigran Karapetian.
Karapetian, a politician and controversial TV pundit, brushes aside the paper’s observation of some harsher criticism of government in recent news coverage on ALM and that this might be a sign that the company would lose its broadcasting license to a rival.
“I wouldn’t say it is the situation that necessitates the plurality of views. Whether this criticism is harsh or not depends on what point of view you take. In my TV, for instance, we have always presented good things as good things and bad things as bad things. That’s been the case for a long time. I’m not looking specifically for something bad to focus on in a particularly negative way,” explained Karapetian, adding that he expected his company to achieve a ‘clean’ victory due to its human, financial and logistical resources reflected in the proposal.
“168 Zham” critically reviews the findings of the latest study on the cheese market showing that 16 major cheese producers in Armenia had reported a nearly tenfold decrease in their amount of business.
“This means that specifically on the cheese market there is not just a ‘shadow’ turnover, but an obscenely large amount of illicit business. The most remarkable thing is that these data are published by a state agency that is supposed to fight monopolies, the primary source of the shadow economy,” the paper charges.
The business daily “Kapital” quotes International Monetary Fund resident representative in Armenia Guillermo Tolosa as saying that the high level of prices is a priority problem for the world economy and for Armenia. “Inflation pressures in Armenia are especially high on foodstuffs. While the inflation pressures will decrease, they will still remain a major problem,” he says.