Karabakh Dissatisfied with OSCE Summit Outcome

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Karabakh Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian called the recently-completed Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Foreign Ministers Summit in Copenhagen "unsatisfactory" at a press conference Wednesday in Stepanakert–voicing regret at–among others things–the failure to legally recognize Karabakh as a party to the conflict with Azerbaijan.

"I consider the outcome of the Copenhagen meeting of OSCE foreign ministers as unsatisfactory–because nothing was done in Copenhagen to resume the negotiating process over the Karabakh problem," Melkoumian said. "Karabakh’s proposals to consider the possibility of legal recognition of Karabakh as a party to the conflict on all phases of negotiations was not met either–which isn’t acceptable."

According to Melkoumian–the Russian co-chairman present in Copenhagen held an inconsistent position with regards to the negotiating process–which was mainly conducted with participation of Russian mediators. Melkoumian also said the current proposals of mediators to a great extent differs from those principles which served as a base for the proposals to cease the armed conflict.

"Karabakh thinks that Russia’s position today is more flexible and constructive–and we do not understand why the Russian side so easily renounced its position," Melkoumian said.

Melkoumian also expressed displeasure at the fact that in recent times–Russian co-chairmen to the OSCE Minsk Conference and Minsk Group–Valentin Lozinsky and Yuri Yukalov–have "made statemen’s which have nothing to do with Russian policy in the Caucasus–as we see it–which has been pursued here for all these years."

Melkoumian declared as "untenable" recent statemen’s by Yukalov to the effect that the main obstacle in the negotiating process is the Karabakh leadership–which does not want to admit the new proposals.

Melkoumian responded by saying the mediators’ aim was not to assess this or that side–but objectively reflect the sides’ proposals.

"To foist the final result of negotiations is an inadmissible method of political pressure," Melkoumian added.

Commenting on Armenian Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian’s speech in Copenhagen–Melkoumian said it was an attempt to introduce Karabakh’s position to the world–but that only "time will show if that means Armenia has changed its stance."

Melkoumian qualified Baku’s refusal to have direct talks with Karabakh as a result of Azerbaijan’s shortsighted policy–which–according to her–impedes the progress in negotiations and the earliest-possible conflict settlement.

"By refusing to meet face-to-face–Azerbaijan shows its attitude towards Karabakh and its people–denying the latter’s right to live on its land following its own laws."

Melkoumian went on to say if Azerbaijan admits that Karabakh is an independent military-political factor and begins to run direct talks with it–there will appear a base for a compromise.

"When Azerbaijan’s functions at the talks are assumed by co-chairmen–naturally–the negotiating process appears in a deadlock," Melkoumian said. "We are standing up for our right to independence–and that cannot be changed by any international law or international organization."

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