“Zhamanak” finds noteworthy U.S. Ambassador John Heffern’s Tuesday remark that closer economic cooperation is now Washington’s top priority in relations with Armenia. The paper claims that the Americans used to place the emphasis on human rights and democracy. “Does this mean that on the issues of human rights and democracy Armenia has started satisfying the U.S. and this is the reason why they have stopped being the number one priority?” it asks. “In the formal sense, that may be the case given the U.S. reactions to Armenian elections. But only in the formal sense because in reality it is clear that if there is any progress on human rights and democracy in Armenia it is merely cosmetic.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says President Serzh Sarkisian’s weekend remarks ended speculation that he could sack Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian soon because of corrupt practices alleged by the parliamentary Audit Chamber. “It can thus be concluded that the climax of the show is over and that that affair is now slowly dying down,” comments the paper.
“Orakarg” notes that President Sarkisian pointedly declined to comment on separate corruption allegations facing Tigran Sarkisian. This is construed by the paper as a sign that law-enforcement authorities will not objectively investigate the premier’s reported ownership of an offshore company accused of defrauding an Armenian businessman. The prosecutors were clearly told to “forget” the case, it claims.
Galust Sahakian, the parliamentary leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), assures “Hayots Ashkhar” that the row between the government and the Audit Chamber does not testify to serious discord with the country’s political leadership. “The greatest efficiency is registered when the government systems operates in an open and transparent manner, presenting everything to the public,” says Sahakian. “This is the work style adopted by the authorities. In that sense, the discussions triggered by the Audit Chamber report have had a prophylactic impact on the bureaucratic class. As for intrigues within the ruling elite, when one government faction tries to prove something to another, our aim is to eliminate such practices. That can be done through steering processes into an open field.”