Direct Talks to Resolve Conflict Says Oskanian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– "I am sure that a kind of intermediate solution can be found to settle the Karabakh conflict–whether it is in package or stage-by-stage form–first Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Vardan Oskanian told journalists. "Or–perhaps–the will of the Nagorno-Karabakh may dominate," he added.

Oskanian stressed that any variant acceptable to Karabakh in the matter of its status would be acceptable to Armenia–as well. He denied the allegation of Armenia having agreed to discuss the issue of Shoushi and Lachin only during the second stage of negotiations. "Armenia has always stated that Lachin and Shoushi are not related to each other at all: the former is a matter of security–while the latter is only a matter of refugees and should be resolved in the context of the return of refugees," he said.

Oskanian said he believes that Nagorno-Karabakh’s position was quite normally taken by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group co-chairmen who are currently examining the differences in the positions of the sides. Armenia also has serious remarks regarding the package solution to the conflict. "It is difficult to say whether there’ll be more contradictions or unanimity," he said. According to the official–the co-chairmen’s forthcoming tour of the region will specify in what direction the process will continue.

Oskanian feels that no direct talks between Karabakh and Azerbaijan are likely in the near future. He thinks that a dialogue between Karabakh and Azerbaijan will only become real following negotiations attended by the co-chairmen and the three parties to the conflict.

"Nevertheless it is our wish and conviction that the process will immediately acquire a new quality as soon as direct talks between Karabakh and Azerbaijan get underway," Oskanian concluded.

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