“Yerkir” says the removal of Agriculture Minister Zaven Gevorgian did not come as a surprise. The sector he was responsible for was gripped by many chronic problems that were not being addressed. But, the paper says, once again the public was given no official explanation whatsoever of the rationale for changing the make-up and structure of the cabinet. And, as usual, nobody was held responsible for the lack of improvement.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes the deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, Gagik Aslanian, as saying that Gevorgian’s activities have been rated “satisfactory” by both the president and the prime minister. Aslanian says he is therefore bewildered by their decision to replace the minister. Aslanian also attacks Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian over his latest pronouncements on ArmenTel. Manukian’s stance is “not serious” and discredits the country, the vice-speaker says.
“Azg” says differences inside the government on how to deal with ArmenTel have deepened after Manukian’s allegations against the company. Manukian’s tough stance may be attributed to the fact that he has had no say in the negotiations with the ArmenTel management.
“Zhamanak” denounces small opposition parties, most of them with left-wing orientation, for whipping up political tension.. They are simply engaged in a fight for power and don’t care about the people, the pro-government paper claims. It also accuses Russia of playing a “double game” in its dealings with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Yerevan should draw appropriate conclusions from this geopolitical change. Its current foreign policy is too ambiguous, according to “Zhamanak.”
Interviewed by “Iravunk,” the former defense minister, Vagharshak Harutiunian, says he remains convinced that “powerful forces” inside the country were behind the October 1999 assassinations in the parliament and that the authorities are doing nothing to solve the crime. Those officials that failed to stave off the massacre have not only kept their posts but have received high state awards. Harutiunian claims that Kocharian is only concerned with strengthening his grip on power. This approach only “destroys the system.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” publishes quotes from the late Vazgen Sarkisian’s famous news conference on the eve of former president Levon Ter-Petrossian’s resignation four years ago. The paper reminds that Sarkisian attacked those who are now trying to portray themselves as his true friends. The then defense minister accused the ruling HHSh of driving a wedge between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh by exaggerating effects of the conflict with Azerbaijan. He also strongly commended Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian.