The whip today was the speech by Anthony Godfrey, U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Armenia (via Armenpress) who "warned today in Yerevan that his government would revise the decision to allocate a hefty $236 million in extra aid to Armenia if its authorities fail to hold free and just parliamentary elections, slated for May" once again, as we have been hearing several times already during the last couple of months.
And while the resolution adopted January 23 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe literally reiterates the same thought (via PanArmenian.net)“The Assembly expects Armenia to demonstrate its capacity to hold the parliamentary elections in 2007 and the presidential elections in 2008 in accordance with international standards, not least with regard to pluralist, impartial media coverage of the election campaign,” we clearly saw more "carrots" in the PACE resolution then "whips" this time.
Indeed phrases like this one: “While acknowledging the progress made by Armenia towards compliance with its obligations and commitments, in particular since the adoption of the constitutional reform, the Assembly today decided to pursue its monitoring procedure until the current or proposed reforms in the fields of electoral law, the media and the justice system have produced tangible results,” are quite positive, and even the speach by the Head of «Justice» bloc Stepan Demirchyan stating that "although Armenia is reforming its Constitution, it is not enough: people must respect the Constitution and the Laws", as well as important reminders about the fact that "Armenia has not yet honored some of the commitments put forward by the PACE resolutions, particularly, independent TV Company «A1+» is still out of air" didn't change much of the overly positive attitude of the deputies. A potentially interesting point of view (although quite hostile as you might assume) on the issue can be found in the coverage of the APA: Azeri-Press Information Agency: as they quote Member of the Azerbaijani delegation Rafael Huseynov saying “The time, content and process of the discussions were organized so that it more resembled the meeting of Armenian parliament. No one from the Azerbaijani delegation was given the floor."
So what is going on? Is Armenia really progressing, and I, in my blind fury and dislike of authorities refuse to see it - or are the PACE just trying to be mild to Armenia for whatever reasons of their own. And then again, another matter to be speculated on is - do high level politicians at PACE think that they have ANY influence over the situation in Armenia, or are they just trying to be nice to what they see as "going" authorities and prefer not to spoil relations in the times very hard for Europe, as the issues of Energy Security and relations with rising Russia dominate the European agenda at all levels?