“Azg” suggests that the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia must have been too distracted by the CIS summit in Kazan to tackle the Karabakh problem in earnest at their face-to-face meeting. The paper believes that they hardly made any progress towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“Iravunk” says the talks between Robert Kocharian and Ilham Aliev “can not produce any concrete results because the presidents of the two countries do not need to come up with a compromise initiative that could cause public strife.” The paper claims that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s phone calls to the two men ahead of their Kazan meeting did not make much difference. “Washington thereby only implies that a Karabakh settlement can not be Russia’s monopoly,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” likewise speculates that Kocharian and Aliev failed to make any progress at Kazan. The paper says their meeting there can not be considered even a negotiation. “Of course, this is a big disappointment for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and a big blow to his authority. This is also a fairly serious blow to the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs who did not hide their serious expectations from the Kazan meeting.
In a separate comment, “Haykakan Zhamanak” says the West is trying to make sure that the November constitutional referendum in Armenia and parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan are free and fair. “The West is thus giving Aliev and Kocharian an opportunity to overcome a crisis of legitimacy existing in their countries.” The paper says Kocharian’s legitimacy will stop being questioned if he manages to win sufficient popular support for his constitutional amendments without falsifying the referendum.
“The public continues to suspect that the authorities are intent on changing the constitution in order to enable Robert Kocharian to get elected for a third term, that the government will be formed on the basis of its [members’] loyalty to the president, that the judicial system will remain dependent and hijacked, that criminal elements will again become deputies and prefects,” editorializes “Aravot.” “Time will tell just how justified those suspicions are.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” reports that ArmenTel, the national telecommunications operator, intends to make up for losses resulting from the abolition of its monopoly on mobile telephony by raising fixed-line phone tariffs. “Having lost its ability to make excessive profits in the mobile phone sector, ArmenTel is trying to protect itself against the obligation to invest in the less profitable telecom spheres,” it says.