“Zhamanak” observes some ‘confusion’ among Armenian officials after President Serzh Sarkisian recently stated about concerns over Russian arms deliveries to Azerbaijan. “The impression is that his statement was a surprise to Armenian officials and, on the one hand, they understand that they should back Sarkisian’s statement, on the other hand, they are carefully not to fall into a trap as then they would have to give an answer to Russia. It is obvious that Russia’s selling weapons to Azerbaijan has, indeed, become a major issue of Armenian politics,” the paper writes.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” sees a direct connection between the border incidents in the recent period and the situation over Armenia’s bid to become a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). “The process of Armenia’s accession is, in fact, put on hold at present. Official Yerevan wants to become a member of the Union as early as possible, but it can’t. Why? Because Russia also intends to lure Azerbaijan into the EEU and for both Armenia and Azerbaijan to become members of the EEU they need to do so simultaneously. Otherwise, if one country becomes a member ahead of the other, in the future it will have the opportunity to veto the neighboring nation’s entry,” writes the daily, stressing that Russia is using the Karabakh issue to stimulate Azerbaijan’s interest in becoming a member of the emerging Union.
“Hayots Ashkhar” quotes political analyst Alexander Iskandarian as describing as groundless the talk about some warming observed in the Russian-Azerbaijani relations. “Connecting the border incidents with Russian-Azerbaijani relations is also groundless. Even if there was some warming in these relations, why would it create tensions on the [Azerbaijani-Armenian] border? I think it would rather be vice versa. There aren’t any closer relations between Azerbaijan and Russia. The last event that happened in their relations was Azerbaijan’s categorical refusal to participate in the Russian-initiated integration projects. As for the [Russian] arms supplies to Azerbaijan, as an independent observer I can say that nothing new is happening. Russia has been arming Azerbaijan since the day it gained independence. Of course, it is not good for Armenia that weapons are supplied to Azerbaijan, but it is hard to imagine that the Russians could stop doing that one day.”
“Zhoghovurd” cites a number of specialists as claiming that several ‘greedy oligarchs’ have been engaged in such intensive sand mining at the banks of the Arax that the river is changing its bed, thus narrowing the territory of Armenia. In an interview with the daily, Environment Ministry expert Volodya Hambartsumian acknowledges that years ago the Arax River did alter its bed a little, but it was not connected with sand mining. The official, however, agrees that mining should not be conducted close to the river.