Armenian pro-government papers carry blistering attacks on U.S. Assistant Secretary of States Elizabeth Jones.
“She lacked the diplomatic skills to realize that one can only talk about exerting pressure in, say, the Afghan or Iraqi conflicts but not in the sensitive Karabakh conflict,” writes the government-funded “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun.” “The lack of knowledge and tact showed by a lady who brands a whole people as criminal elements is not only flagrant but also carries serious risks in terms of creating unnecessary tension in the negotiating process and whipping up public emotions.”
“The United States is deeply offending the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic created as a result of the 17-year just struggle by the freedom-loving Karabakh people,” “Hayots Ashkhar” says in an editorial. It says Jones’s statement has dealt a “serious blow” to U.S.-Armenian relations just as they were rapidly developing, adding that the U.S. has thereby “lost the respect” of the Karabakh Armenians.
In an interview with “Aravot,” the Artarutyun bloc’s leader Stepan Demirchian dismisses as “primitive” the view that the Armenian opposition could have toppled President Robert Kocharian if it had adopted a distinctly pro-Western agenda. “I find it pointless to again address that. I would simply say that the logic of our steps stemmed from our reality,” Demirchian says. “It’s just that success could come sooner in one place and later in another place,” he adds, referring to the Western-backed popular revolts in Ukraine and Georgia. “What matters is consistency, which the Artarutyun bloc has. We believe that democracy will prevail in Armenia.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that opposition leaders say they must start seriously preparing for local elections due next fall. “The main political forces are confident that in October Armenia will again become a battleground which will pit the coalition parties against the opposition. Since expectations are that there will be no Robert Kocharian [in power] in 2008 to bind together Dashnaktsutyun, Orinats Yerkir and the Republican Party and each of those parties will have its own presidential candidate, the upcoming local government elections are becoming extremely vital for the coalition parties.” The paper argues that control of local government bodies is essential for being able to falsify the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2008.