(Saturday, October 25)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” quotes Turkish President Abdullah Gul as saying that President Serzh Sarkisian himself asked Turkey to mediate in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. “The fact that official Yerevan did not refute this statement gives one reason to conclude that it is true,” claims the paper. It points to the trilateral meeting in New York of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Turkish foreign ministers. It also calls Sarkisian’s alleged request a blow to the current format of the Karabakh talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.
“Hayots Ashkhar” says that chances for a compromise solution to the Karabakh conflict would have been greater had the South Caucasus been integrated into a “larger and more stable system capable of dictating its rules of the game to the conflicting parties.” “In the absence of such a system a comprehensive settlement is impossible,” says the paper, adding that the conflict’s “freezing” is the best option in this situation.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” says that the return of Armenian-occupied territories around Karabakh is “the most important issue” for Azerbaijan, but not Armenia. “For us, the aim of the war, which we didn’t start, was to ensure Karabakh’s security and its reliable overland connection with Armenia,” reasons the paper. “Instead of thinking about how to accomplish our supreme objective, we are discussing whether it is worth allowing Azerbaijan accomplishing its own supreme objective: the issue of territories.”
“Hraparak” comments on the first anniversary of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian’s rally in Yerevan during which he announced his decision to contest the February 19 presidential election. The paper says that with his harsh anti-government rhetoric Ter-Petrosian managed to galvanize even those who “did not even want to hear Levon’s name just months earlier.” “Today the people who have lived with that prospect [of regime change] for the past year have totally different feelings,” it says. “Some of them are now disappointed or vexed, while others are trying to buoy themselves and their entourage. A large part of the disappointed ones are now blaming Ter-Petrosian and looking for mistakes and omissions in his strategy. Others are trying to understand and not to lay the blame on their leader. In any case, people feel sad and the number of those who believe in victory is increasingly falling.”
“Golos Armenii” quotes Abel Aghanbegian, a prominent Russian-Armenian economist, as speaking out against the ambitious idea of building a railway linking Armenia to Iran. Aghanbegian says that the project can not be cost-effective. He also believes that the Armenian currency, the dram, is “extremely overvalued” and has had “tragic” consequences for Armenia’s export-oriented industries.