Karabakh Settlement Must Involve All Three Parties Says Tomsen

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"There are three parties to the Karabakh conflict–Azerbaijan–Armenia and Karabakh. There can’t be any decision without the consent of all parties concerned," US Ambassador to Armenia Peter Tomsen told journalists on Thursday.

According to him–the decision must be taken by the parties to the conflict themselves. The role of mediators is to ensure relevant conditions for holding talks.

Besides the US ambassador–the meeting held at the National Press Club in connection with the media awards announced by the UN office was attended by the ambassadors of Russia and France–who along with the US ambassador co-chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group.

The Russian ambassador to Armenia Andrey Ournov was the first to wander away from the main topic by referring to the Karabakh conflict. He particularly said that the Armenian press had been exaggerating the concern over the Karabakh issue lately. No one is going to "sell" Karabakh–Ournov said–commenting on the responses produced by the September 26 news conference by Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Tomsen also mentioned that the responses to that news conference were rather pessimistic. He said he welcomed the position of the Armenian official who viewed as realistic a possible "phased" settlement of the Karabakh conflict. At the same time he pointed out that the settlement should ensure security of the Karabakh people.

The French ambassador to Armenia Michel Legras stated that France had no differences with the United States in the matter of the Karabakh settlement.

Asked about the positive role of peacekeeping forces–Andrey Ournov said peacemakers were very helpful in Cambodia. According to him–peacekeeping forces are brought in to stop a conflict or in case the conflict already stopped–to maintain peace. According to Ournov–peacemakers are a certain guarantee against the resumption of hostilities. Speaking of that he drew the example of Cyprus.

The ambassador emphasized that he does not see any negative sides in the use of peacekeeping forces.

Especially in the case with Karabakh–when all parties to the conflict must give their consent for those forces to be located in the region. "Nobody will bring in peacekeeping forces–unless the sides give their consent," the ambassador said.

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