(Saturday, May 14)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that some Armenian observers are skeptical about Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s pledges to combat corruption and speed up economic reforms, while others think the government may be serious this time around because of the increased risk of a war with Azerbaijan. The paper wonders whether the Armenian society has also changed as a result of last month’s hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“There is relative calm on the borders and government representatives have gone on a counteroffensive, naturally against the public because it is the public that was asking questions during the war” writes “168 Zham.” “And it is the public that was finding answers to its questions because the authorities were silent and did not dare to respond to the public at the time … The public wanted and wants to retrieve what was stolen from it and it is only natural that government representatives have gone on a counteroffensive.”
“Zhoghovurd” says Armenia and Azerbaijan are in no rush to confirm the upcoming meeting of their presidents, suggesting that they both are reluctant to resume peace negotiations until their demands are met. In particular, President Serzh Sarkisian has demanded specific measures against renewed violence along the Karabakh “line of contact.” The U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group essentially backed those measures in their statement on the Vienna summit. The paper is not clear about Azerbaijan’s demands.
“Zhamanak” notes that Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev failed to reach any agreements at their last meeting held in Switzerland in December. “What will change after this meeting?” writes the paper. “It’s very hard to tell. The expectation is clear. Everyone expects that the meeting will contribute to a lasting peace and stability, strengthen the ceasefire and stop the deaths of soldiers.” But this is not a realistic expectation, it says.
Citing the National Statistical Service (NSS), “Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the consumer price index in Armenia in April was down by almost 2 percent from the same period in 2015. The paper attributes this deflation to the falling cost of key foodstuffs in international markets and increased socioeconomic hardship in Armenia. It also cites the “extremely tight” monetary policy pursued by the Armenian authorities.