“Aravot” reports that the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia will hold a trilateral meeting in the southern Russian city of Sochi on January 25. Citing a “Russian diplomatic source,” the paper says agreement on the meeting was reached during Monday’s talks between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian. “The same source predicted that although no declaration will necessarily be signed during the Sochi meeting, Azerbaijan’s bellicose rhetoric directed against its neighbor will substantially decrease,” it says.
“Golos Armenii” says Russia has largely lived up to Armenia’s expectations on the Karabakh peace process and Turkish-Armenian relations. “Is Russia our ally?” asks the Russian-language paper. “That question has always been timely for Armenia but has been asked more often in the Armenian society and political circles lately. And not just because Russia has not always sufficiently taken Armenia’s interests into account in its foreign policy.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the Armenian authorities could face fresh criticism during the upcoming winter session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). The paper says the assembly will be presented with a report on press freedom containing “rather tough and important evaluations” of the situation in Armenia. It says PACE leaders might go as far as to again suggest the possibility of suspending Armenia’s voting rights in the assembly.
Deputy parliament speaker Samvel Nikoyan tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the PACE rapporteurs on Armenia, John Prescott and Georges Colombier, have submitted “some report or confidential assessments” to the PACE Monitoring Committee. He says those assessments relate to an Armenian parliamentary inquiry into the March 2008 violence and are “extremely contradictory.”
“168 Zham” reports that President Serzh Sarkisian’s Public Council has been given office space adjacent to former President Robert Kocharian’s office located in a Yerevan hotel. The paper says the Armenian government will be paying at least 2 million drams ($5,300) a month in rent for the 200 square-meter premises. It says the presidential body, which many in Armenia consider meaningless, will cost taxpayers too much.
“Zhamanak” comments sarcastically on the launch of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s blog. “Imagine Serzh Sarkisian opening his own bloc tomorrow and [parliament speaker] Hovik Abrahamian becoming a blogger the next day,” says the pro-opposition daily. “Then other officials, all election fraudsters one by one. Thus everyone will try to describe what they think on their blogs. So communication with the public will move to a virtual reality where they will try to brainwash people with fairy tales about their new thinking.”