A Russian political analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, tells “168 Zham” that Armenia is right to insist on the implementation of confidence-building agreements that were reached by the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents at their last two meetings held in 2016. Tarasov is pessimistic about a trilateral meeting of the Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers that will take place in Moscow on Friday. “In all likelihood, there will be no presidential summit after this meeting,” he says. He sees no “grounds for serious agreements” in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks at this stage.
“Zhoghovurd” reports that Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian on Wednesday again rejected his opposition challenger Nikol Pashinian’s offer of a live televised debate ahead of the May 14 municipal elections. “We present the results of our work and our programs to our people,” he said. The paper is not convinced by this explanation. It notes that other senior members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) also avoided debates with opposition leaders in the run-up to the April 2 parliamentary elections. It accuses the HHK of making increasingly “cynical and uncivilized” excuses to avoid such public discussions with its political opponents on key issues facing Armenia.
“Almost one month has passed since the parliamentary elections but the public still does not know the names of individuals who will get parliament seats and take on the role of the public’s representatives to the number one state institution,” “Zhamanak” writes in reference to the HHK and Gagik Tsarukian’s bloc, the election runner-up. The paper claims that Tsarukian will pick his parliament deputies as a result of a tacit understanding or a direct agreement with President Serzh Sarkisian. It says he has still not done that because of the continuing uncertainty about the composition of the HHK’s new parliamentary faction.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says that a large part of government subsidies provided to private suppliers of fertilizers and fuel to farmers in recent years have been used by them because of a lack of demand. Despite this fact, the three private firms have still not returned that money to the state budget.The government has told them to keep it and use it for further subsidies. The paper decries this fact, saying that it amounts to the disbursement of millions dollars worth of interest-free loans to those companies.