“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Nikol Pashinian, its former editor who is now a parliament deputy from the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), confronted Hungary’s Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics over the release of the Azerbaijani army officer Ramil Safarov on the sidelines of an economic forum in Poland on Tuesday. The paper says Pashinian told Navracsics that the Hungarian government must have been aware that Safarov will be immediately set free and glorified in Baku. He also challenged Navracsics to comment on allegations that the Hungarian side was paid by Azerbaijan to free the convicted murderer and answer several other questions related to the scandal.
“In response to these questions, Mr. Navracsics uttered only three sentences: ‘Safarov’s extradition was based on international documents. Azerbaijan had guaranteed that he will stay in prison for some time. Azerbaijan should be asked why it freed him,’” says “Haykakan Zhamanak.”
“Zhamanak” says the Safarov affair will have repercussions for not only regional security but also internal political developments in Armenia. The paper speculates that if Russia’s influence in the country weakens as a result of the scandal President Serzh Sarkisian will be well placed to win reelection and continue his “unprecedented pro-Western course.” “But if the Russian clout grows, then developments could follow an emergency scenario, and in those circumstances the role of [Gagik Tsarukian’s] BHK could grow dramatically,” it says.
“Aravot” reports that Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Republican Party (HHK), has dismissed renewed opposition calls for Armenia to formally recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state. Sahakian is quoted as saying that opposition lawmakers trying to resurrect a corresponding bill in the Armenian parliament are keen to “draw some dividends.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” condemns the Armenian authorities for deporting nine Syrian nationals who tried to enter Armenia from Turkey last week. The paper dismisses the official explanation that they were denied visas at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport because they could not prove their ethnic Armenian origin. “Assume that they are not pure Armenians … but has that increased the public’s respect for our state?” says the pro-opposition daily. It says that just about everyone in Armenia was shocked by their expulsion.
“Zhoghovurd” says some observers think that President Serzh Sarkisian sought to discredit the BHK when he stated in Gyumri on Tuesday that he does not consider Tsarukian’s party an “enemy or rival.” The paper says Sarkisian might have also warned the BHK that it must finally clarify its political status ahead of next year’s presidential election.