The start of nominations in the February 2013 presidential election will begin in Armenia in about a month, but the possible candidates are still mostly vague on their plans, maintaining the intrigue till the last moment. This is true for both the government and the opposition, which leads some analysts to conclude that in next year’s presidential campaign incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan may remain without serious competition.
By the end of September Armenia will make the first humanitarian airlift to Syria, member of the Bureau of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnaktsutyun), MP Vahan Hovhannisyan announced on Tuesday. Many organizations in Armenia and Karabakh have expressed their willingness to help, he added.
Social networks over the past weekend were actively discussing information about a government meeting where President Serzh Sargsyan sharply criticized the government and made some serious accusations.
The head of the Control Service under the President, Hovhannes Hovsepyan, presented the results of audits in the system of procurement during which the service concluded that serious violations are committed in the sphere. In particular, state agencies squander budget money by holding non-transparent tenders and buying goods at prices higher than elsewhere in the market.
What looked like a pro-forma statement from the United States Embassy in Yerevan reminding U.S. citizens “to maintain a high level of vigilance and good situational awareness in light of recent attacks on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya” did not go down well with some members of the Armenian public who consider their Christian country a place free from radical Islamic manifestations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will try to smooth the tensions between Yerevan and Baku before the UN General Assembly, stated an official representative of the U.S. State Department after the meeting of the two countries’ top diplomats on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok, Russia, last weekend.
After Hungary’s extradition to Azerbaijan of Ramil Safarov, who hacked to death Armenian army officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest in 2004 and was serving a life sentence in a Hungarian jail until August 31, experts in Armenia began to talk about the steps that can not only be an adequate response to this move, but will also toughen the position of Armenia in talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.
Following last week’s controversial release in Hungary and subsequent pardoning of Azerbaijan national Ramil Safarov, convicted in the murder of Armenian Gurgen Margaryan, analysts and observers began to assume that the development gives Armenia more freedom in recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, something that it was cautious to do before fearing Azerbaijan’s response with war.
Political autumn came early in Armenia as the struggle of Russia and the West over wielding more influence in Armenia began to take more prominent features already in August.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who paid an unscheduled visit to Moscow on August 8, apparently agreed to Armenia joining the Eurasian Union, a nascent Russian project widely believed to be an effort to restore the former Soviet Union.
Tensions are again escalating on the Armenian-Azeri border – over the past few days Azeri snipers opened fire at border regions in what seems to be a rule rather than exception lately; one Azeri soldier was wounded as a result, another one surrendered to the Armenian troops.