In an extensive interview with “Aravot,” former foreign minister Aleksandr Arzumanian, who is a member of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, says both Robert Kocharian and Vartan Oskanian knew in advance about the creation of the body. Furthermore, they had for months discussed details of its activities and themselves offered him to join in. Arzumanian suggests that the “hysterical atmosphere” in Armenia is what led Kocharian and other senior officials to distance themselves from the commission.
He also says: “We are not obstructing the process of international recognition [of the 1915 genocide], as some papers say. On the contrary, by avoiding to talk about it we make clear that it is a reality and a historic fact, and that any discussions about it are meaningless. We must find ways of cooperation in other areas, after which it will be possible to discuss the issue on the state level.”
However, “Yerkir” continues to voice negative opinions about the reconciliation effort. Hakob Chakrian, a leading Turkey analyst, says the initiative is part of US-Turkish efforts to “suspend” the recognition process. Ramkavar Azatakan party leader Ruben Mirzakhanian points to the “inadequate” composition of the commission, which he says precludes any dialogue between the two peoples. He is particularly unhappy with the fact that the commission does not include representatives of “traditional” Armenian parties.
“Hayots Ashkhar” comments that despite the absence of progress the latest round of Karabakh shuttle diplomacy was a success for the Armenian side. Unlike Azerbaijan, which has failed to secure any pro-Azerbaijani peace initiatives from the West and Russia in recent years, “Armenia has been able to get from the mediators the minimum that was enough to be rejected by the Azerbaijani side out of hand.” The Azerbaijani leadership, anxious to soothe public opinion, has preferred to maintain the status quo for the moment, the paper says.
Parliament speaker Armen Khachatrian tells “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” that he will not resign his post just because he is no longer a member of the People’s Party (HZhK). Khachatrian says he was elected to the parliament on the Miasnutyun ticket and continues to be a member of the bloc’s parliament faction.
The Republican Party’s “Zhamanak” newspaper supports the speaker, saying that the HZhK must not expect to be keep the post under its control.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the leader of the Right and Accord bloc, Artashes Geghamian, does not deny reports that he is in talks with several other opposition groups over the formation of a new alliance. He says the current regime in Yerevan “has depleted itself and must go.” Still, Geghamian admits that he holds regular meetings with Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, one of the most influential representatives of that regime.
One of Geghamian’s likely opposition partners in the would-be alliance, Ashot Manucharian of the National Accord Front, tells “Aravot” that Sarkisian and the Right and Accord leader are unlikely to strike “immoral deals. Manucharian says he thinks that Geghamian is a “mature politician” and will stay faithful to the opposition cause.