Former president Levon Ter-Petrossian's chief Karabakh negotiator, Gerard Libaridian, deplores official Stepanakert's absence from the recent peace talks with Azerbaijan. Libaridian says in an interview with "Azg" that the fate of Karabakh must not be decided without the participation of its people and legitimate authorities. He goes on to argue that it is the conflicting parties that hold the key to peace. Much also depends on the position of Russia. Libaridian disagrees with the view that Moscow's role in the peace process has considerably decreased over the last several months. On the contrary, he says, the Kremlin is now pursuing a "more cohesive" policy on the Karabakh.
"Iravunk," however, takes the view that the Karabakh peace process is unfolding under the American scenario, something which Russia is not happy with. "Moscow will use the occasion of Vladimir Putin's visit to Armenia in late May to exercise its influence on the Armenian side ." Yerevan will be under pressure to make clear its foreign policy priorities.
The deputy speaker of the parliament, Gagik Aslanian, defends this week's statement by the People's Party of Armenia (HZhK) and the parliamentary group of the Yerkrapah Union on the parliament shootings trial. "Iravunk" quotes him as saying that the joint statement was based upon the recommendations of attorneys representing families of the victims.
One of the lawyers, Ashot Sarkisian, tells "Yerkir" that the HZhK's and Yerkrapah's demand for a special parliamentary commission overseeing the investigation is not an attempt to interfere with the court proceedings. The commission would have to "make sure that the defendant (Nairi Hunanian) is really isolated in jail," he says.
"Hayots Ashkhar" says the signatories' claim that Hunanian receives "illicit legal counseling" is "absolute nonsense." If the authorities indeed sought to help the leader of the parliament gunmen to defend himself in court they would have at least hired a good lawyer for him, the paper says. The May 23 session of the parliament during which deputies will decide whether to form the ad hoc commission will turn into a "political show" that could spark political tension. This course of action is highly undesirable in the run-up to the Geneva talks on Karabakh.
"The HZhK and Hanrapetutyun have, in effect, made another attempt to join the opposition ranks," comments "Iravunk." Tension may further rise after the Geneva round of Karabakh negotiations. Interestingly, the paper notes, the re-emergence of the idea to join the Russia-Belarus union could play into President Kocharian's hands. It may "distract" public attention from the Karabakh issue.