Answering the questions of the readers of the Azg daily’s website, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian in particular says: “If Azerbaijan already officially declares that it waits for a better variant, that is, does not want to agree to compromises after failing to achieve what it wanted at the negotiations, and will achieve want it is after militarily, I think it would be wrong for Armenia to assume a wait-and-see stand. Azerbaijan must realize that when Armenia makes sure that Azerbaijan has arrived at such a conclusion, it will also have steps to take that may have negative consequences for Azerbaijan – from recognizing Karabakh to adopting a self-defense doctrine as a result of which Azerbaijan will always find itself in the position of a defending side.”
The foreign minister puts it in the paper that the negotiations are currently at the point when “we can judge by Azerbaijan’s stance whether it is ready for a compromise or not. “If in the issue that was on the agenda of the Rambouillet talks Azerbaijan remains uncompromising, it will mean that it remains at its maximalist positions that will not lead to a solution to the problem. Therefore, the main parameter depends on Azerbaijan today.”
“One should not portray Turkey as a devil to defend from which Armenia constantly needs to be under some military superpower, we must learn to defend by ourselves,” the Dashink party leader, former commander of the Karabakh army Samvel Babayan tells Hayots Ashkhar.
Central Election Commission member, Artarutyun faction representative Felix Khachatrian states in Aravot: “There have always been riggings in Armenia, their mechanisms are constantly improved and the scale is increasing, but there has never been such widespread rigging in which everyone participated, including the Central Election Commission. The CEC keeps stating that it only ‘collects figures’. “It is so at all. The CEC is a state body in charge of the organization of elections that also oversees its legitimacy, which in that case failed to perform its functions and in fact was idling, and for that it must bear responsibility,” the Commission member claimed.
Touching on the process of reforming the electoral code, Khachatrian tells the newspaper: “If I now show unfilled protocols with signatures on them from polling station No. 20 of constituency 11, will you think that it was the electoral code that allowed such things? Law has become a toy in the hands of the authorities. They play it as they please.”
Haykakan Zhamanak quotes President of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia (NOCA) Gagik Tsarukian as saying during a meeting with athletes on Tuesday that eight Russian wrestlers, including world and European champions, will soon join the national wrestling team of Armenia. According to a preliminary agreement, in the event of winning the 2008 Olympics each of the Russian wrestlers will receive $500,000 from Armenia’s National Olympic Committee; in case of winning the Olympic gold Armenians will receive $700,000.
“It is clear that the NOCA head makes this decision in order to fulfill his promise to win a medal at the 2008 Olympic Games,” the paper writes, adding: “But on the face of it, the advisability of such steps from the viewpoint of develop Armenian sport is dubious.”