Ghoukassian Discusses Karabakh Armenians Changing Position

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian and Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian discussed extensively the Karabakh peace process and Karabakh’s and Armenia’s approaches and proposals–reported Ghoukassian during a press conference he held following the meeting Wednesday.

"We need to do serious work–we have to be able to defend our position in the international arena and prove that the package deal is the most reasonable solution to the Karabakh conflict," Ghoukassian said.

Ghoukassian explained that the package deal is recommended not to serve Armenia’s interests but because it is the only possible solution with balanced mutual compromises. "The step-by-step approach cannot take into consideration all sides involved–because it is not possible to first solve Azerbaijan’s problem and then solve Karabakh’s problem. There is mistrust–there has been a war–and there are today’s real conditions–all of which we need to consider," he said.

The Karabakh leader stated that the current situation is aggravated due to Azerbaijan’s refusal to accept the package deal solution. He predicted that that might be a result of certain presidential election campaign tactics being played out by Azeri authorities. "I do not rule out that after October [election month] Azerbaijan’s position might change," Ghoukassian observed.

Pointing out that until recently the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen had also rejected the package deal solution–Ghoukassian said that currently the Minsk Group co-chairmen have given the impression that they are ready to accept the idea of "negotiations without preconditions" and the package deal solution.

Regarding recent meetings with the visiting European Council delegation–Ghoukassian reported that Karabakh was somewhat successful in convincing the delegation that the OSCE Lisbon Summit propositions negatively affected the negotiations process.

Regarding the recent uproar about Oskanian’s statement that Armenia might consider unification with Karabakh if by some time Azerbaijan doesn’t make the necessary concessions–Ghoukassian said the uproar was probably because Armenia never made public its sentimen’s regarding Karabakh–although Karabakh always pushed it to do so. According to Ghoukassian–recognition of Karabakh’s independence is neither an end in itself nor a solution–however might be necessitated at one point. "Since we are still hopeful to reach mutual concessions–we have not directly addressed that issue," he said.

Ghoukassian also mentioned that since 1991-92–consistent effort has been made to acquire international recognition of Karabakh. "It is difficult–and this is very reasonable–because the issue of Armenia’s lack of recognition is always pointed out to us. And–we have to be able to answer that question," Ghoukassian explained.

Regarding internal government problems–Ghoukassian said–"There were complications–everything is normal now."

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