“Zhamanak” is very skeptical about the results of the ongoing visit to Yerevan by Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, and his meetings held there. “Since March 1, 2008, the Europeans have been playing a cat-and-mouse game with Armenia’s authorities and especially society,” writes the paper. “For three years, there have been political prisoners in Armenia. For three years, the criminals who killed ten people on March 1 have gone unpunished. And yet Europe comes and goes, smiles and shakes hands.” This sharply contrasts with European reaction to repressions and rigged elections in Belarus, it says. “One must not have illusions and serious expectations of European assistance,” concludes “Zhamanak.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” plays down the significance of Hammarberg’s latest fact-finding visit, saying that the German official has already been to Armenia before. The pro-government paper ridicules opposition efforts to get him to put stronger pressure on the Armenian authorities. It says opposition activists are trying to do this by “flattering the guest’s heart and ears” and at the same time “morally pressurizing” him. If these attempts fail, the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) will renew its scathing attacks on Europe, concludes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that after Hammarberg’s visit, Armenia’s state human rights ombudsman, Armen Harutiunian, will resign to take up the post of a United Nations human rights representative to Central Asia. Harutiunian tells the paper that he does not know who will succeed him as ombudsman.
“Yerkir” believes that the Armenian authorities are behind talk of the possible emergence of a “third force” acting as an alternative to them and the opposition. The paper says its real purpose is to form “false opposition” in the country. “What Armenia needs is not a third force but a qualitatively new policy,” it writes.
“Azg” says that four years after the shock assassination of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink authorities in Turkey have still not solved the case. “The Turkish authorities lack the courage to do justice,” comments the paper. “Four years have passed since Dink’s murder but the criminals have still not been punished, and their trial resembles a first-rate show and is going on endlessly.”