(Saturday, December 13)
Speaking to “Aravot,” a spokesman for Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian commends President Serzh Sarkisian for stating that Armenia will recognize the self-proclaimed republic if Azerbaijan attempts a military solution to the Karabakh dispute. The official, Davit Babayan, says such statements will have a “restraining effect” on Azerbaijan.
In an interview with “Zhamanak,” Azerbaijani political analyst Eldar Namazov says his country’s relations with Russia have been “developing in a fairly positive way.” But he says at the same time that Azerbaijani-Russian relations are still stymied by Russia’s close ties with Armenia. “From this standpoint, Armenian-Russian relations are more integrated than Azerbaijani-Russian relations,” says Namazov.
“Yerkir” quotes Bernard Fassier, the French co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, as telling an Azerbaijani news agency that an international fact-finding mission that visited the Armenian-controlled territories around Karabakh recently will present its report in late February. Fassier also says he and the group’s U.S. and Russian co-chairs will likely visit the conflict zone in late January or early February. “One can conclude that the results of the fact-finding mission are not being unveiled now because of the tension in [Armenian-Azerbaijani] negotiations,” comments the paper. “This may mean two things. Either the co-chairs do not want to further escalate the situation with their report, or they prefer to present it at the opportune moment, by using it a lever of pressure on the conflicting parties or one of them.”
“Kapital” reports that Armenia and Georgia have made concessions in separate trade disputes with Ukraine. In Armenia, for example, the authorities have agreed to levy equal taxes from local and imported alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. The paper says the Ukrainian government will in return withdraw its complaint lodged with the World Trade Organization in May.