“Hayots Ashkhar” criticizes officials from the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for making statements which it believes contradict the existing peace proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group. The paper criticizes, in particular, Terry Davis, secretary general of the Council of Europe, and Goran Lennmarker, chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, for publicly supporting Azerbaijan’s “so-called territorial integrity” and denouncing the upcoming presidential election in Karabakh as illegitimate. It claims that this is one of the reasons why the Minsk Group co-chairs have failed to achieve a breakthrough in the peace talks so far. “After all, if there are statements predetermining the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, it is understandable that Azerbaijan will not agree to mutual concessions expected from it.”
“Aravot” describes as “unserious and immoral” allegations that Armenia’s former leadership was intent on “selling out” Karabakh. “It is the current authorities that have weakened and jeopardized Karabakh by failing and refusing to establish a lasting peace,” editorializes the paper. “If they are declaring now that they have preserved the status quo with their skillful and cunning diplomacy, then that is a mere illusion. The status quo would have been preserved if Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s defense budgets or investments into the economies of the two countries had been equal or if internationally significant communication routes had passed through both Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” joins other publications in criticizing Hrant Markarian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), for saying that the retransmission of RFE/RL Programs by Armenian state radio offends his “national dignity.” “What happens to Comrade Hrant’s national dignity, when the finance minister or foreign minister of his country beg the chief of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, John Danilovich, to ensure that his government gives $235 million for restoring Armenia’s rural roads and irrigation network?” asks the paper. “Why on earth isn’t Hrant Markarian calling for [Armenia] to spurn that aid in view of national dignity? Or why isn’t Comrade Hrant’s dignity offended when the same Dashnak structures make an outcry each year after discovering that the U.S. Congress has once again reduced the amount of annual [U.S.] assistance to Armenia?”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” suggests the following explanation: “A huge part of those loans and grants flows into the pockets of the government and the party of which he is the representative. And it is thanks to those loans and grants that Comrade Hrant now declares enthusiastically that Dashnaktsutyun is self-sufficient in Armenia.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” also reports that pro-government candidates in a repeat parliamentary election to be held in a central Armenian constituency in August are already distributing vote bribes. The paper alleges that the candidate of the governing Republican Party, Khachik Manukian, is trying to win over local voters with eggs, while Dashnaktsutyun candidate Gurgen Shahinian is handing out stones from a quarry owned by him. “It is not yet known which types of vote bribes the people of Talin prefer,” it says. “We will find out that during the vote count.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a fugitive nephew of Gyumri Mayor Vartan Ghukasian who was reportedly among the participants of a recent gunfight in Armenia’s second largest city was arrested on Tuesday. The paper says Ghukasian “handed over” the young man to the police after a meeting with President Robert Kocharian.
According to “Aravot,” Ghukasian also met with Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian on Tuesday and got the latter’s “go-ahead for staying on as Gyumri mayor for now.” The paper quotes an unnamed official in the Gyumri municipality as saying, “The prime minister will sponsor Ghukasian until the presidential elections in order to take a sizable number of votes from Gyumri.”