“Aravot” reacts to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s calls for an end to the more than yearlong blockade of the roads leading to Armenia’s Amulsar gold deposit. Pashinian argued, among other things, that a unilateral government decision to revoke the Lydian International company’s mining license would be fraught with political, economic and reputational risks for Armenia. “One may certainly disagree with these points made by the prime minister but they must be taken seriously given the fact that for Pashinian the support of the majority of citizens is so dear and important that there have to be weighty reasons for him to make statements to the detriment of his popularity,” editorializes the paper. “The country’s leader is now undoubtedly faced with a tough choice. The only sensible step he could probably take is … to give citizens more detailed explanations as to what reputational risks threaten our country.”
“Hraparak” singles out Pashinian’s argument that a ban on the Amulsar project would leave his government under pressure to explain why it is allowing continued operations of other mining companies in Armenia that use less advanced technology and equipment. “This is where we could have a big international problem if it turns out that we are taking a discriminatory approach [against Lydian,]” warned Pashinian. The paper says that this is a “convincing argument at first glance.” “Indeed, why has the Amulsar mine has been closed and caused the economy huge damage for the past year if the government has much more serious environmental concerns about the Teghut and Zangezur mines?” it writes in an editorial.
“Isn’t this an acknowledgment of [Lydian’s] discriminatory treatment?” continues “Hraparak.” “These are the kind of questions which should have been raised immediately after the start of the Amulsar blockade, rather than one year later, after Lydian has claimed to have been discriminated against. Secondly, Pashinian’s second question remains unanswered: do the other mines comply with [environmental] standards and Armenia’s laws?”
“Zhamanak” quotes George Kent, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, as telling the Voice of America that the United States wants Armenia to be successful and prosperous and that the latter has a chance to become such a country after last year’s “Velvet Revolution.” The paper says Kent’s remarks come ahead of Pashinian’s upcoming visit to the U.S. It claims that although Pashinian is not scheduled to meet with any top U.S. officials his trip is “primarily perceived in the context of the U.S.-Armenian relationship and agenda.”