Arzoumanian Deems Revival of Talks as Most Important Goal

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian–during a press conference–did not rule out the possibility that the newly submitted package of proposals by the Minsk Group co-chairs would be accepted by the Nagorno-Karabakh leadership.

"Perhaps Karabakh will agree to the package–whether it is with exceptions or not," he said.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group co-chairs arrived in Yerevan Tuesday–at which point they left immediately for Stepanakert–where they held meetings with the Karabakh leadership.

During the press conference–Arzoumanian did not know the details of the discussions in Stepanakert–adding–however–that for the Armenian government the most important goal is to restart the negotiations.

"A document must be accepted as the basis for negotiations–and whether or not that document becomes the package or stage-by-stage deal–will remain to be seen," Arzoumanian said–adding–"the package deal is made up of various stages."

According to Arzoumanian–Armenia remains on track with its mission–which is to find a peaceful solution to the Karabakh issue–and that solution–as stated by the foreign minister–must first be acceptable to the people of Karabakh.

Arzoumanian expressed his satisfaction with his meetings with Russian Federation Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov in recent days–abstaining from discussing any details of the meetings.

Arzoumanian said the Karabakh issue was not discussed between the two counterparts–because as to Arzoumanian’s understanding the conflict is between Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

The upcoming Copenhagen Summit was discussed and ways of improving the meeting was deliberated over.

As Arzoumanian told journalists–Armenia’s role in the Karabakh conflict must be to ensure the security of the Karabakh population and nothing more and nothing less.

The minister did not see any direct contacts between Azerbaijan and Karabakh in the near future–saying that the possibility of that would be very slim.

In regards to Karabakh’s status–Arzoumanian explained that this would come toward the conclusion of the whole process–saying that at a point Armenia would have to pull out of the process–and allow Karabakh and Azerbaijan to discuss the final status of the Karabakh republic.

"I think Azerbaijan has the same understanding," he added.

Speaking about the period preceding the Copenhagen meeting–Arzoumanian said that discussions would continue with the various co-chairing governmen’s–and he noted that Prime Minister Robert Kocharian’s trip to France would serve that purpose with the French delegation–and his own meeting with United States Undersecretary of State Strobe Talbott in Brussels would cover that end.

Arzoumanian also commented on the recently passed resolution by the 52nd General Assembly of the United Nations–calling for continued cooperation between the UN and the OSCE–saying that the resolution did not call for the defeat of Karabakh’s stance–but that it was merely an agreement between two international organizations.

Arzoumanian concluded saying whatever decision ratified by the OSCE that is the decision which will be accepted by the UN.

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