“Aravot” comments that Thursday “can be considered a somewhat historic day” because of the joint statement issued by the governing parties and the opposition following almost five hours of talks.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the agenda of their dialogue includes recommendations made by the Council of Europe; reform of the constitution, the election code and local government bodies; the fight against corruption; an end to the government crackdown on the opposition; as well as “legal grounds” for a referendum of confidence in President Robert Kocharian. Nonetheless, the parties stuck to their guns despite “mutual satisfaction” expressed by them. “Surprisingly, the opposition is sure that the jointly drafted agenda of the political consultations will give it an opportunity to depose Kocharian, while the coalition is confident about keeping Kocharian in power.”
“Iravunk” singles out the statement’s call for a “the creation of a new situation” in Armenia. “It appears that the parliament’s pro-government and opposition forces came to certain agreements at the expense of Robert Kocharian’s camp,” the paper speculates. “The new situation will hardly lead to upheavals because Armenia’s political field is effectively becoming highly multi-layered from the standpoint of both internal and external factors.” All of this will likely result in a “consensus scenario” of a transfer of power from Kocharian, according to “Iravunk.”
“Yerkir” writes that the political crisis will deepen as long as Armenian politics is dominated by “the kind and quality of political forces which we have.” “Today the majority of political forces, both in government and in opposition, do not realize that they must be concerned with eliminating the causes of the political crisis,” the paper says. “The causes which lie not inside the government but the society. It seems that power rests only with the state institutions. But in fact power is within the people. However, the people have no civic experience of applying it.”
“Unfortunately, the public has not appreciated us, has not realized what Yerkrapah is,” the chairman of the war veterans’ union, Deputy Defense Minister Manvel Grigorian, tells “Ayb-Fe.” “Some people would like to see us perform the role of domestic oppressors, while others hope that we can launch an armed attack on the government. In both cases, the perception of us is wrong.” Grigorian complains that “none of the parties (presumably the government and the opposition) is ready to hear the truth.” “Let our country face a few more external challenges and after that time will come for Yerkrapah to speak up.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” salutes Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s victory in the confrontation with the autocratic leader of Georgia’s Ajaria region, Aslan Abashidze. The paper says Saakashvili won because “the people of Georgia believe in their leader” whom they democratically elected last January and the international community will now hold Saakashvili in even higher regard. “Robert Kocharian will no longer be able to present Armenia in desirable light and will constantly find himself in Saakashvili’s shadow from now on. Having a leader like Saakashvili becomes vital for Armenia.”
According to “Hayots Ashkhar,” the Georgian leaders are rectifying their predecessors’ “primitive ideas about friends and foes.” The paper says they are also more sympathetic to Georgia’s ethnic Armenian minority. “The new realities create favorable conditions for overcoming the somewhat lukewarm character of Georgian-Armenian relations, resolving the accumulated problems and making the highways linking Armenia to the outside world busier and safer.”