Ghoukassian Discusses France Visit Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian held a news conference Wednesday to discuss his official visit to France. He said that the mission of the visit had been fully accomplished. The Karabakh delegation held a series of meetings at the French Senate–with members of the French-Armenian and French-Caucasian friendship–as well as with speakers on the issue of Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s membership of the Council of Europe.

Commenting on his consultations with the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Conference and Minsk Group from France–Jacques Blot and George Vosier–Ghoukassian said that he had noticed certain changes in their stand–such as their willingness to revise certain viewpoints regarding the peace process. Ghoukassian stressed that the package solution is taken rather seriously by the negotiators. He pointed out that the experience of settling conflicts in Northern Ireland and New Caledonia inspired him with optimism.

According to Karabakh’s president–it is important that mediators neither lay down any preliminary conditions nor drive Nagorno-Karabakh under Azeri rule before negotiations start.

Regarding Karabakh Prime Minister Leonard Petrossian’s resignation–Ghoukassian said–"I can’t force the prime minister to stay."

Ghoukassian said that the prime minister’s resignation has nothing to do with disputes in the government around state building–structural reforms in the government and the legislative body–as well as around the basic approaches to the social and economic development of the republic. The president said that he will accept the prime minister’s resignation within the next two to three days.

Ghoukassian did not rule out that he might assume the prime minister’s duties. However–the issue is still under discussion. Ghoukassian said a deputy prime minister will solve the government’s main problems.

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