(Saturday, April 29)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” cites an Azerbaijani newspaper report saying that international mediators have come up with a new variant of the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Karabakh would allegedly have an “interim status” until the final phase of the peace process. The Azerbaijani paper, “Zerkalo,” claimed that neither Baku nor Yerevan have rejected the idea out of hand.
“Aravot” reports that the president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Rene van der Linden, has told the Armenian Mediamax news agency that the Karabakh conflict must be resolved just because peace would hugely benefit the younger generations of Armenians and Azerbaijanis. “In my opinion, there are many people outside Armenia that prod the Armenian government and the opposition in a certain direction,” says van der Linden. “I believe that the future of the Armenian youth is much more important than the feelings of Armenians living outside Armenia.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that as Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev was meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House on Friday President Robert Kocharian was having a phone conversation with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. “The situation is unfortunate in that the Armenian diplomacy has become predictable on the reflex level,” writes the paper. “And if the president of Azerbaijan meets U.S. President George Bush, the president of Armenia sees no other choice but to phone Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.”
“Golos Armenii” speculates that while in Washington Aliev tried to thwart U.S. plans to resolve the Karabakh conflict before the end of this year. “Namely, to move the negotiating process from an active to a more passive phase,” says the paper, adding that Aliev may well have gotten what he wanted. It claims that Baku is stalling for time in the hope that Azerbaijan will find itself in a more beneficial bargaining position after securing billions of dollars in additional oil revenues.
Interviewed by “Aravot,” opposition leader Artashes Geghamian makes a case for fresh presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia. He claims that such polls could throw a “lifeline” to Armenia’s “failed” leadership. “In the existing situation, we … must be prepared for assuming power. These authorities are already non-existent. They are tolerated by the USA on one side and Russia on the other for the simple reason that the fundamental issue, resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh and other problems vital for the development of the South Caucasus, has approached a crunch time.” Geghamian claims that relevant promises given by the Armenian authorities to the U.S., Russia and the European Union are mutually “incompatible.”