(Saturday, June 27)
“Hraparak” says the apparent collapse of the government’s dialogue with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) was as “incomprehensible” as its start a month ago. This fiasco, claims the paper, demonstrated that “a culture of political dialogue, cooperation and even debate is alien to us.” “But this fact must not be seen as a tragedy,” it says. “First of all, it’s not possible to unleash artificial things. Political processes need to mature and get underway as a result of public demand. Besides, nothing is lost without a trace.” Both the government and the HAK have gained “valuable” experience from their month-long negotiations, continues the paper. It also claims that the Armenian society now wants “confrontation and struggle,” rather than dialogue.
“Yerkir” describes as blackmail the HAK’s insistence on the release of one of its activists arrested on August 9. The paper says government negotiators may have indeed promised to secure his release.
Vartan Bostanjian, one of those negotiators, insists in an interview with “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the activist’s prosecution is a “case lying on legal plane” and should not be a subject of political negotiations with the HAK. “If they [HAK representatives] think otherwise, what can I say? I have no comment on this issue,” he says, referring to the opposition bloc’s decision to suspend the dialogue. Bostanjian also says he is “absolutely” not concerned about the HAK threats to launch a new campaign of anti-government protests in Yerevan. The failure of the dialogue would not be a “tragedy” for Armenia, concludes the pro-government parliamentarian.
“Hayots Ashkhar” points out that the latest drop in international prices of fuel, wheat and other commodities has not translated into corresponding price decreases in Armenia. “The obvious reason for that is monopoly-based [economic] relations that are dominant in Armenia, especially in the markets for imported goods,” explains the paper. “The existence of a weak competition environment creates favorable conditions for importers to dictate their prices to the market.”
“Azg” reports that the number of real estate transactions in Armenia fell considerably while property prices remained virtually unchanged in July. “August will also not see any major positive change in these indicators,” says the paper. “One can expect greater activity [in the sector] from the middle of the autumn due to a [seasonal] rise in remittances coming to Armenia from abroad.”