(Saturday, May 31)
Writing before Serzh Sarkisian’s first public comments on an “unpleasant” condition set for Armenia by Kazakhstan, “Zhamanak” says that nothing important or encouraging should be expected from the Armenian president. The paper says that Sarkisian’s choice of Armenia’s new prime minister and several other government members was enough to have no major expectations from him. “Serzh Sarkisian sent his message by ensuring a complete rehabilitation of the criminal-oligarchic segment of the regime,” it says. The paper sees a direct link between Sarkisian’s internal political decisions and external challenges facing Armenia. “That is the reason why Armenia has been left at the mercy of Russia and its interests,” it says.
According to “168 Zham,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s pro-Azerbaijani condition may be dangerous for Armenia but it is also the last chance for the country to avoid joining the Russian-led Eurasian Union. “This game which is being imposed on Armenia through Kazakhstan is tantamount to capitulation,” claims the paper.
Political analyst Aleksandr Iskandarian, meanwhile, downplays the significance of Nazarbayev’s public warning to Yerevan voiced at a summit held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. Iskandarian says Sarkisian’s critics at home are “taking it out of context and presenting it as a challenge to Armenia.” He says what Nazarbayev told Sarkisian at Astana primarily reflected lingering “deep differences” among Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. Belarus and Kazakhstan are doing everything to clinch more economic concessions from Russia, he says.
“Of course, Kazakhstan has a good rapport with Azerbaijan but not because it is crazy about Azerbaijan,” adds Iskandarian. “It simply needs Azerbaijan. Kazakhstan has serious problems with access to Europe, and Azerbaijan is one of the conduits for transporting Kazakh oil to European markets. This is why what happened happened.”
“Due to Armenia’s weak economy and problems with Azerbaijan, for Kazakhstan Armenia is an unacceptable candidate to join the Eurasian Economic Union,” Kazakh expert Marat Shibutov tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” He says that Kazakhstan does not want new members of the union to have “black holes” in their borders or “create problems” for the bloc. Shibutov believes thatNazarbayev will therefore veto Armenia’s membership bid.