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The U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that Washington expects Armenia and Azerbaijan to honor confidence-building agreements that were reached by their presidents at their last two meetings. Mills says in this regard that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is now close to deploying more ceasefire observers in the Karabakh conflict zone. “We are working with the other co-chairs [of the Minsk Group] and OSCE member to ensure that this is organized properly,” he says, adding that the confidence-building measures are essential for progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

“No sane person would want to be in a constant state of war with neighbors and oppose peace, reconciliation and good neighborliness,” writes “Aravot.” “No sensible person would deny that the war and blockade are to blame for many of Armenia’s grave economic problems.” But, the paper says, this does not mean that Armenia’s fundamental problems cannot be solved as long as the Karabakh dispute remains unresolved.On the contrary, solutions to those problems could actually facilitate a Karabakh settlement, it says, adding: “You must be so strong and united that the enemy would not dare to attack you. That does not negate, of course, the need to negotiate and look for mutual concessions with your neighbors.”

“Zhamanak” says that President Serzh Sarkisian has implied at a meeting with Armenia’s leading entrepreneurs that they should themselves find ways of overcoming the difficult economic situation in the country. “True, Serzh Sarkisian also said that his new government will be a good interlocutor and provide good services,” says the paper. “But his main emphasis was on the need for businesspeople to take the initiative.” It finds this message bizarre, saying that initiative is something which Armenian businesspeople have never lacked.

“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” quotes Prime Minister Karen Karapetian as saying that the government should give more subsidies to those communities that do a better job of collecting local taxes. “From the standpoint of business thinking, this is certainly a good decision,” comments the paper. “That’s what business managers do … It’s just that Armenian local communities are not factories.” It says there are objective reasons why many communities fail to meet their tax revenue targets.

(Tigran Avetisian)

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