Armenia Won’t Sign Anything Karabakh Doesn’t

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"I will gladly use my right to veto if–at a session of the OSCE Foreign Ministers–a proposal unacceptable for Karabakh is proposed," Armenia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian said at a news conference Friday. Arzoumanian is to attend a session of the OSCE Foreign Ministers Council scheduled for Dec. 17-18.

Stressing that in the matter of Nagorno-Karabakh there are no major differences in his and Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s stance–Arzoumanian said that they had no proposals from those who spoke against that standpoint. The minister reiterated Armenia would not agree to sign any document unacceptable to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Arzoumanian denied allegations by the Turkish daily Hurriyet saying that Ter-Petrosyan and Aliyev had signed an agreement on the Karabakh conflict in Strasbourg.

"The Presidents agreed that they grew weary of the war and that it was necessary to find ways to resolve the conflict. There can’t be any other agreemen’s without Karabakh’s participation," he said.

The foreign minister said that during the visit of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairmen to the region in November–the conflicting parties’ approaches would be specified. He noted that after the establishment of the tripartite chairmanship of the Minsk group–the package settlement was rejected by both Armenia and Azerbaijan–while the stage-by-stage agreement was only rejected by Karabakh.

In both cases Armenia agreed to accept the proposed method as a basis for the start of negotiations (but not as a basis for the settlement). Meanwhile–the talks may last for an unspecified period–said Arzoumanian.

The minister noted that since the formation of the Minsk group and up to the present–Armenia had been supporting the "phased" settlement which was also welcomed by Karabakh and Azerbaijan. But later on the sides announced their preference for the package format–which led them to an impasse for the suspension of the bilateral talks between Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s refusal to hold direct talks on the eve of the Lisbon Summit leads to the conclusion that Azerbaijan had participated in the negotiations for purely propaganda purposes.

That was followed by Armenia’s statement whereby it refused to participate in the talks which would not be attended by Karabakh.

Stressing the importance of understanding the present realities and the earliest possible settlement of the issue–Arzoumanian noted that there were proposals based on which it was possible to start negotiations.

To avoid the fate of Krajina Serbs–who were wiped out in a matter of two days–it is necessary to do everything to take maximum mileage from the present situation–Arzoumanian contended.

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