(Saturday, February 7)
The Yerevan congress of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has aroused “great expectations” among Armenians around the world, according to an editorial in the party’s weekly newspaper “Yerkir.” “The goals and values of Dashnaktsutyun are viable and eternal,” it says.
“Aravot” focuses its attention on Dashnaktsutyun leader Hrant Markarian’s “tough criticism” apparently directed at the party’s coalition partners. The paper say the leaders of the Republican and Orinats Yerkir parties, Andranik Markarian and Artur Baghdasarian, were dismayed by the speech.
“Dashnaktsutyun attacks,” reads a headline in “Haykakan Zhamanak.” The paper carries a detailed account of Hrant Markarian’s speech which touched on a wide range of issues facing Armenia. It also quotes the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamlet Gasparian, as saying that official Yerevan does not share Markarian’s remarks on foreign policy. Gasparian stresses that foreign policy is the constitutionally defined prerogative of President Robert Kocharian.
“Azg” denounces the Dashnaktsutyun leader’s calls for greater autonomy for Georgia’s Armenian-populated Javakheti region and his warning that tensions there might flare up into an armed conflict. “There is nothing new in Dashnaktsutyun commenting on the neighboring republic in a threatening tone,” the paper says. “Such statements, which smack of a provocation, could only jeopardize the flimsy Armenian-Georgian relationship.” The authorities in Tbilisi will treat Markarian’s statement as a “challenge to Georgian statehood.” It will also pour more petrol on the flames of the ongoing “anti-Armenian hysteria in Georgia,” according “Azg.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev’s efforts to simultaneously please Russia, the United States and Europe are doomed to failure. The paper says Aliev can not take huge geopolitical “bribes” from Washington and at the same time count on Russian support for regaining control of some of the occupied Azerbaijani territories. “We are sure that he can’t. Not just because he has already signed appropriate documents at the Americans’ urging, but also because for the Aliev clan the United States and billions of dollars in oil money are much more important than Russia and France as well as the several regions adjacent to Karabakh.”