Citing a French-Armenian newspaper, “Azg” reports that France’s President Jacques Chirac has told the head of the Armenian Catholic Church that he plans to visit Armenia this September. The paper says Chirac also assured Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX that he has done his best to help to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” carries a letter by a “group of senior army offices” that blasts President Robert Kocharian for bringing the Dashnaktsutyun party into his government. The signatories allege that Dashnaktsutyun is “so criminalized that it will carry out any anti-national order.” They also assert that Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian has been relegated by Kocharian’s chief of staff, Armen Gevorgian, to the status of an “ordinary official.” “According to our information, hundreds of officers are conscious of the fact that the minister has become a tool in the hands of the presidential authority and is given instructions by Armenchik Gevorgian.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” sees striking similarities between Kocharian, Artur Baghdasarian and Artashes Geghamian. “Like Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian, Artur Baghdasarian has hailed the property-for-debt deal [with Russia.] Artashes Geghamian did not condemn the deal. As they say, silence is a sign of agreement. When Kocharian is pro-Russian, Geghamian is also pro-Russian. When he is pro-Western, Geghamian is also pro-Western.” Baghdasarian, says the paper, also changes his foreign policy orientations all too often. It also says all three men have been notoriously vague about how to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “If you peel off a few layers, you won’t find any differences between these three figures.”
“There are no opposition businessmen in Armenia,” writes “Aravot.” “They would be wiped out in two minutes. The same is with Russia. One guy there tried [to be an opposition businessman] and is now sewing warm clothing for workers in a Siberian jail.” In the United States, continues the paper, President George W. Bush would not even think about persecuting businessmen who made campaign donations to his Democratic challenger. Not because he is a kind and tolerant person. “It’s just that American entrepreneurs regularly pay their taxes and are therefore protected by law. In Armenia and Russia, nobody is protected.”