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“Zhamanak” comments on the signing in Moscow on Wednesday of a new agreement on the joint Russian-Armenian military force, dismissing Armenian government assurances that it is good for Armenia’s national security. “The authorities could not have said that the agreement is aimed at increasing Russia’ s influence on Armenia or increasing Russia’s control over Armenia’s armed forces,” writes the paper. “But the authorities have still not answered logical questions about the agreement.” It says they have yet to explain the need for a new accord on the joint military force that has existed for many years. Their failure to do so raises “many questions and presumptions,” according to the paper.

“Hayots Ashkhar” strongly defends the agreement, saying that it is “logical and predictable” in light of regional “uncertainty” created by the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and Azerbaijan’s continuing threats to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by force. The paper says that Armenia’s geopolitical significance to Russia is growing because of a “noticeable rise in Moscow’s military-political activity in the southern direction.” That is demonstrated by the latest territorial gains made by Russian-backed Syrian government troops in Aleppo, ongoing attempts to deepen Russian-Iranian military cooperation and Moscow’s closer interaction with Baku in the Caspian Sea, it says. Armenia is key to Russia’s efforts to boost its presence in the Middle East, claims the paper.

“Zhoghovurd” reacts to the presidential press secretary Vladimir Hakobian’s statement explaining President Serzh Sarkisian’s declared support for the idea of Armenian withdrawal from seven Azerbaijani districts around Karabakh in return for recognition of the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination. “It is certainly good that the spokesman has clarified the president’s position on this extremely important issue,” writes the paper. “But it is bad that the person occupying the post of the country’s president gives interviews [to foreign media] that have to be clarified, edited or doctored later on … And it would be interesting to know why Serzh Sarkisian comments on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict only in interviews with foreign media and does not bother to meet with Armenian media outlets and answer their questions on the issue.”

“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that official socioeconomic statistics run counter to Sarkisian’s weekend claim that living standards in Armenia have improved “substantially” during his rule. The pro-opposition paper stands by its view that “our economy is collapsing.”

(Tigran Avetisian)

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