Oskanian Discusses Karabakh Hai Tahd

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"There will be definite changes in the Karabakh settlement issue," said Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian in an interview with Radio Liberty.

"I cannot provide the details at this point–because we are still formulating them. We have to be ready for the upcoming visit of the three OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen. I could say the two principles we will maintain are that the settlement be comprehensive and without preconditions."

Radio Liberty interpreted "comprehensive" to mean that Armenia rejects the "step-by-step" resolution process and supports the consolidated "package deal" approach.

Oskanian said that efforts for the advancement of the Armenian Cause–Hai Tahd–in foreign relations will be made alongside efforts to advance all aspects of the Armenian Cause.

"We pay more attention to the Armenian Cause–because that is an unfortunate inheritance for all of us–and from the international community–as well as from Turkey–we expect at least justice. And–we–simply–not for the sake of conflict–but for the sake of establishing more healthy cooperation–would definitely like to see the recognition of the Genocide included in the agenda of future Armenia-Turkey dialogue," said Oskanian.

When introducing Oskanian to the Foreign Ministry staff on Monday–President Kocharian reported that he signed a decree Saturday granting Oskanian Armenian citizenship. Earlier Oskanian relinquished his United States citizenship.

Noting that the Foreign Minister is granted numerous authorities and duties–Kocharian said he had no doubts that his decision to appoint Oskanian Foreign Minister was the right one.

Kocharian described the previous work of the Foreign Ministry as unsatisfactory and said he would give a "cart blanche" to the new Foreign Minister in the matter of staff policy. Kocharian also reported that included in future Foreign Ministry changes would be a powerful Diasporan Affairs Department to be headed by the Deputy Foreign Minister.

Born in Syria–Oskanian graduated from the AGBU High School of Aleppo. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Yerevan Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Massachusetts–where he worked with various development firms.

Oskanian returned to school to receive a Master of Arts degree in Government from Harvard.

He joined Armenia’s Foreign Ministry in 1992–first as Deputy Head of the Middle East Department and then as Head of the North American Department. In November 1994–Oskanian was appoint

ed Deputy Foreign Minister–and in January 1997–promoted to First Deputy Foreign Minister. He has headed Armenia’s delegation to the Karabakh negotiations since 1994.

Oskanian is 43 years old and married with two sons. He speaks English and Arabic and has knowledge of French and Russian.

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