(Saturday, July 18)
“Zhamanak” suggests that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s calls for “intensifying” peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh were a message to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to the effect that he should agree to a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian later this year. Lavrov made the statement during talks on Friday with Azerbaijan’s visiting Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov. The paper wonders what will happen if Aliyev demands a “high price” for such a summit. “Will [the mediators] pay that price or consider everything a failure and Azerbaijan will revert to provocations?” it asks.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” scoffs at President Sarkisian’s assurances that he will not seek to become parliament speaker in 2018 in case Armenia is transformed into a parliamentary republic. The paper says this looks like the main emphasis of the Armenian government’s public relations campaign for constitutional changes put forward by Sarkisian. “This is how organic food is advertised … So they [the authorities] themselves know very well the public attitude towards Serzh Sarkisian and realize that if he aspires to any state position [after completing his second term in 2018] hardly anyone will willingly say yes to the constitutional changes.”
Vahram Baghdasarian, the parliamentary leader of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that Sarkisian’s latest assurances disprove the main opposition arguments against the constitutional reform. “I foresaw that and wonder how ashamed our opposition leaders will be of their statements after 2018,” says Baghdasarian. Baghdasarian also insists that the proposed reform is “not a matter of life or death” for the Armenian authorities. “This is simply the right direction,” he says.
“Our country is on the brink of big changes,” writes “Hraparak.” “And not just because the new constitution will change our state’s system of government and because of surprises awaiting us. Changes are sought by our public and they are long overdue … Of course, different people here have different views on those changes. But everyone agrees on one thing: they are urgently needed.”