(Saturday, June 21)
“Zhamanak” reports that the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern, on Friday expressed serious concern over continuing ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. By contrast, the paper says, Heffern’s Russian opposite number, Ivan Volynkin, claimed to be unaware of the deadly skirmishes when he was asked by journalists for comment earlier this month. It says this is natural because Volynkin’s main mission in Armenia is not to help resolve the Karabakh conflict but to fight against “Armenian circles undesirable for the Russian Empire.” “The [supposed] ‘guarantor’ of Armenia’s security does not even know what is going on the [Armenian-Azerbaijani] border, while a friend [of Armenia] condemns ceasefire violations on this particular occasion,” it says.
“168 Zham” blames the Armenian Foreign Ministry for continuing casualties suffered by Armenian troops around Karabakh and on the border with Azerbaijan. The paper claims that Azerbaijani sniper fire and incursion attempts are made possible by Armenia’s foreign policy “fiascos.” It says the latest upsurge of fighting followed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Baku. Lavrov described Azerbaijan as Russia’s strategic partner during that trip.
“Hraparak” says that President Serzh Sarkisian’s parliamentary majority has become so thin that the absence of just a few deputies from his Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) enables the opposition to disrupt the work of the National Assembly. The paper says that this poses a serious threat to unity within the HHK’s parliamentary faction. It predicts that the parliament will face more such “crisis situations” even if the majority leaders reduce HHK deputies’ business trips abroad and crack down on absenteeism among them. The main reason for this problem is not the opposition but a “lack of faith within the [HHK] team in their government and its initiatives.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that the HHK’s youth wing began on Friday a series of Russian-language courses for its members. “They stress that the emphasis during the course will be put on developing their colloquial language skills,” writes the pro-opposition paper. It says this initiative is a logical consequence of the Sarkisian government’s efforts to force Armen into the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.