“Zhamanak” says the Armenian government’s “propaganda machine” will exploit French President Francois Hollande’s Monday remark that Europe is not forcing Armenia to “make a choice” going against its interests. The paper says President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision last year to seek Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was against those interests. “Armenia’s sovereignty and dignity is being sacrificed as a result of that choice,” it says. “Association with the European Union stemmed from Armenia’s interests because that would have given us important alternatives for our independence, security and sovereignty.”
“Zhoghovurd” comments on Sarkisian’s claims, made at a French-Armenian business forum in Yerevan, that Armenia’s membership in the customs and Eurasian unions will open up “unique opportunities” for European investors interested in his country. He also said that Armenia has the most European-style regulatory environment in the ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States. The paper strongly disagrees with these claims, saying that Sarkisian only proved that his decision to join the Russian-led unions was politically, rather than, economically motivated.
“Hayots Ashkhar” speculates that the main purpose of Hollande’s official visit to Yerevan is to “limit” Armenia’s participation in the Russian integration projects. The paper also links it to U.S. mediator James Warlick’s May 7 speech on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It says Hollande is seeking assurances that Yerevan will preserve “the Western vector” of its foreign policy.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that if the Armenian side had resettled many more people in the “liberated lands” surrounding Karabakh it would have been in a much better position to resist their return to Azerbaijan. “The first steps were taken [in the 1990s,] but starting from 2000 the process was effectively suspended,” writes the paper. “One can certainly find justifications: there are not enough people, financial resources and so on. But these are merely excuses. Roughly $7 billion has been siphoned out of Armenia since 2000. In the inner circles of both Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian there is nobody who does not have business interests abroad. They have invested … anywhere except the liberated territories.”