Berezovsky Kocharian Discuss Karabakh Issue

YEREVAN (Itar-Tass)–Commonwealth of Independence States Executive Secretary Boris Berezovsky discussed ways to settle the so-called "dragged out" conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenian president Robert Kocharian Thursday.

"I am flying to Baku on Thursday–and I hope to continue negotiations with Azerbaijan President Haydar Aliyev on reforming the Commonwealth of Independent States and on ways to do away with the abnormal situation that exists in Nagorno-Karabakh," Berezovsky told reporters following his meeting with Kocharian.

He stated that the "presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan are very much interested in finally putting an end to this conflict."

Speaking about the recent proposals made by the co-chairmen of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group–Berezovsky said he was always "very accurate in his assessmen’s," but noted that–at the same time–"this is without doubt a step toward the settlement of the conflict."

Berezovsky said that Kocharian viewed the proposals of the Minsk Group as such a step–as well.

"In my opinion," Berezovsky stressed–"this means further progress. This most difficult problem can be resolved only in this way–we must not sit idly,"

Berezovsky and Kocharian also discussed issues related to reforming the Commonwealth of Independent States–as well as setting up free trade zones.

Berezovsky said his reform ideas had been backed by the presidents of Armenia–Kazakhstan–Kirgyzstan–Ukraine–Moldavia and Georgia.

"The proposals I have put forward were based on ideas the presidents voiced earlier," the executive secretary said. "I analyzed those ideas and shaped them into a non-contradictory system," he added.

Berezovsky’s "package of proposals to reform and further develop the CIS structure." Kocharian was quoted by his press service as describing the proposals as "quite workable and serious package." The two men in particular voiced their support for the creation of "free trade zones," the press service said–reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

While in Yerevan–Berezovsky–who is one of Russia’s wealthiest persons–renewed his calls for banning the Russian Communist Party–citing the recent anti-Semitic statemen’s by some Communist leaders. "Unfortunately such overt nationalism is not met with a rebuff by the [Russian] government," he told reporters after the meeting with Kocharian.

Berezovsky called an "absolute provocation" Communist claims that he has turned over to President Boris Yeltsin his major stake in Russia’s largest television company. `He charged that Russian "secret services" and Yeltsin’s former security chief–Aleksandr Korzhakov–were behind the allegations.

In the past few days–Berezovsky and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB–former KGB) have traded grave accusations. Several national security officers have accused the FSB leadership of plotting to murder Berezovsky.

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