(Saturday, February 5)
Sociologist Lyudmila Harutiunian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh adopted by the PACE is a sign that Europe is losing patience with the decade-long status quo in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. She says the Europeans are increasingly leaning towards “imposing peace on the conflicting parties.” A Karabakh solution preferred by them would uphold Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, she claims.
Covering the OSCE’s fact-finding mission to the occupied Azerbaijani districts around Karabakh, “Azg” says that “unfortunately Armenia and Karabakh are not populating the formerly Armenian territories.” “Of course, there are settlers in the security zone around Nagorno-Karabakh. But their haphazard and autonomous settlement can not be considered a state policy,” writes the paper.
Newspapers report that the Armenian parliament’s foreign relations committee has accepted an opposition proposal to hold open hearings on Karabakh on March 20. Among high-level officials that will be invited to testify at the hearings are Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian.
A senior member of the Yerkrapah Union admits in a “Haykakan Zhamanak” interview that despite its formally apolitical status the organization uniting veterans of the Karabakh war “always had a dictating and steering role in the country’s political life.” “Yes, I will not shy away from saying that the country belongs to the people, while its fate is in the hands of those who won that honor with their blood,” says Ruben Gevorgian. The fiercely nationalistic former parliamentarian says that members of the union may have differing political allegiances but they are all “brothers bound together by blood.”
Interviewed by “Hayots Ashkhar,” a leading member of the opposition Artarutyun bloc, Vazgen Manukian, attacks the governing coalition for its failure to unequivocally accept opposition proposals on constitutional reform. Manukian says President Robert Kocharian’s leading allies thereby refused to engage in a candid dialogue with the opposition.
“Aravot” comments on the announced prosecution of a former U.S. consular official in Yerevan on charges of illegally selling U.S. entry visas to Armenian citizens. The paper jumps into the conclusion that even well-paid Westerners living in Armenia find it hard to resist a temptation to enrich themselves rapidly and illegally. “The Yankees who are scared of their country’s [criminal] legislation stop being ashamed of taking bribes in our conditions because our society is extremely tolerant of such phenomena. The second conclusion is that our citizen would rather pay a corrupt American official a $10,000 bribe, leave this country for good and not give bribes anymore, than continue to bribe various people by staying in the homeland for the rest of their life. The third conclusion is that government officials are the same everywhere and accept bribes everywhere. Perhaps the only difference is that the Americans punish their corrupt officials.”