“Aravot” sees striking similarities between public responses to serious terrorist attacks in the United States and Armenia, saying that in both cases the issue was so politicized that many overlooked the poor work of security services. In the Armenian case, that allowed the security apparatus to get away with its failure to prevent the October 1999 attack on parliament. “It is just amazing that nobody in our country, including a parliament commission dealing with this issue, did not attach importance to the problem of how to ensure that our special services are able to forestall terrorist acts regardless of who is behind them.”
Opposition leader Aram Sarkisian attacks President Robert Kocharian’s foreign policy in an interview with “Aravot.” Sarkisian says that international mediators continue to describe Nagorno-Karabakh as being part of Azerbaijan and that the Karabakh Armenians have been
“driven out of the negotiating process.”
“Iravunk” says the draft amendments to the Armenian constitution would give additional powers to Kocharian. “His term in office is likely to be prolonged,” the paper says, citing comments by Rafik Petrosian, chairman of the parliament committee on legal affairs. It claims that the authorities have redoubled their efforts to get the Armenian opposition to end its seven-month boycott of parliament sessions in an attempt to “legitimize” the constitutional package to be put on a referendum next year.
“On the other hand, intrigues and other apparatus games in the government camp do not stop for a single moment,” continues “Iravunk.” The paper says Kocharian will not sack “unpopular ministers” because he wants to preserve “the coalition balance.” Coalition parties might only be “offered” to replace some of their ministers. “Such an approach is needed by Robert Kocharian in order not to jeopardize the stable work of the parliament and passage of the constitutional amendments.”
One of the cabinet members rumored to be facing imminent dismissal is Hovik Abrahamian, the influential minister for local government. “It is very difficult to invent even reasonable gossips, sitting in cafes in the summer heat,” Abrahamian tells “Aravot.” “I am neither unhappy nor upset with those.”
Citing unspecified “sources close to the Republican Party,” “Iravunk” says Abrahamian is now lobbying for the merger of the State Taxation Service and the State Customs Committee in the hope of becoming the head of the two government agencies. “Those games have provoked the prime minister’s anger and Abrahamian might even expelled from the Republican Party,” the paper claims.