“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” hits back at former President Robert Kocharian’s spokesman Victor Soghomonian, who has defended government actions on March 1-2, 2008 and accused Levon Ter-Petrosian of attempting to seize power at the time. The opposition paper says Soghomonian’s statements mean that Kocharian now admits using the army against demonstrators. It insists that defending constitutional order is not the army’s job and that this is the prerogative of the police and other security bodies. “If 15,000-20,000 policemen can’t maintain public order, then we are talking about a popular uprising, rather than an attempt to usurp power,” it says.
“Zhamanak” says this week’s remarks by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon give the impression that something is about to happen in the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiating process. But, says the pro-opposition daily, the United States, Russia and France are now too busy dealing with domestic problems and other foreign policy matters to make a serious push for Karabakh peace. The paper also says that just because Armenia’s government is now talking to the opposition does not necessarily mean that it will be ready to make more concessions on Karabakh.
“Aravot” claims that Raffi Hovannisian, the leader of the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage), stated on Thursday that he will not aspire to the Armenian presidency. “That was a very prudent step that will give this politician some freedom,” editorializes the paper. It says the Armenian government camp and the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition will now be less likely to attack Hovannisian. The Zharangutyun leader’s statement will therefore contribute to the easing of political tensions in Armenia, it says.
“Yerkir” reports that a 14 percent drop in international oil prices observed in the last two weeks has still not cut the prices of petrol and related products in Armenia. “Armenia immediately reacts to world market prices, but only when they rise,” writes the paper. “Everything is being done in our country to protect the interests of large importers.”