Armenia Karabakh Leaders Meet in Yerevan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The leaders of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh met in Yerevan Tuesday–in what they said was a routine "exchange of information."

An official communiqu released by presidents Robert Kocharian of Armenia and Arkady Ghoukassian of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic– said the two men largely focused on economic issues.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting–Ghoukassian said the conflict with Azerbaijan was also on the agenda but declined to provide details.

He repeated Yerevan’s and Stepanakert’s shared position that a compromise solution to the conflict must include granting Karabakh a "non-conventional" status.

The Armenian side insists that that status may fall short of independence but should also rule out Karabakh’s "subordination" to Baku.

"We are ready to be flexible and expect the same from Azerbaijan," Ghoukassian said.

He said he would "most likely" represent Karabakh in hearings on the conflict organized by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on November 3.

"That will be a very important event because the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will have a chance to present its position," he said.

An official invitation to attend the hearings has also been extended to the parliament speakers and foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ghoukassian again rejected Baku’s insistence that representatives of Karabakh’s ethnic Azeri minority who fled the fighting in 1992 should also be invited as a separate party.

Representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group–the main international body seeking a solution to the decade-long dispute–are expected to open a new round of shuttle diplomacy in mid-November. Officials in Yerevan and Stepanakert have said they hope that the group’s co-chairs will replace their last peace plan with a new one addressing the Armenian deman’s on Karabakh’s status and security.

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