“Aravot” says that with Armenia insisting on Nagorno-Karabakh’s involvement in peace talks and Azerbaijan opposing that, it is “hard to expect progress on this issue” from Friday’s meeting in Vienna of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. “Nevertheless, negotiations must go on,” editorializes the paper. “It is not clear for now how we can find ‘points of convergence’ with the Azerbaijan. But it is evident that maximalist, extreme demands or ‘national-patriotic’ declarations will not give us or Azerbaijan any benefits. In this sense, our position is more advantageous. Armenia’s prime minister has stated that we must reckon with the interests and aspirations of the peoples of Armenia, Karabakh and Azerbaijan, whereas Ilham Aliyev seems willing to only reckon with ‘international law,’ distorting it in accordance with his ambitions.”
“Zhamanak” says the Azerbaijani military has reported that one of its soldiers was shot dead by Armenian forces near Karabakh this week. The paper links the report with the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Vienna and suggests that Baku might be preparing ground for a possible escalation of tensions on the frontlines. “In any case, Yerevan and Stepanakert must be ready to prevent possible Azerbaijani provocations not only on the diplomatic front but also on the border,” it says.
“Zhoghovurd” comments on last week’s mass desertion of soldiers from an Armenian military base near the southeastern town of Meghri. They thus showed support for one of their comrades who was punished by local military commanders for his reputedly unruly behavior. “Another circumstance is noteworthy in this affair. They punished the soldiers by sending them to the frontline,” the paper writes, questioning the wisdom of such a punitive measure. It says Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan thus implied that “serving on the frontline is a form of punishment.”