OSCE Chairman Discusses Karabakh Plan

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Polish foreign minister and Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–Bronislaw Geremek–arrived in Armenia Tuesday for talks which officials said focused on the OSCE’s efforts to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Geremek discussed with Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian the OSCE’s most recent peace plan–overall praised by Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh but reportedly rejected by Azerbaijan.

The plan–unveiled earlier this month–calls for the formation of a "common state" between Azerbaijan and Karabakh which declared its independence from Baku in 1991. The Armenian side has indicated that the idea could lead to a breakthrough in the deadlocked peace talks.

Oskanian told his Polish counterpart that the new peace proposals constitute "serious progress" in the negotiating process–the Armenian foreign ministry said.

Geremek was quoted as saying that the international community "expects positive signals" to the plan from the conflicting parties. Following the meeting with Oskanian–Geremek told RFE/RL that he will discuss Azeri objections on Wednesday during his visit to Baku.

Azerbaijan has reportedly said the latest plan does not contain specific guarantees of its sovereignty over the Armenian-populated disputed enclave. It has also demanded that the OSCE’s Minsk Group–led by Russia–the United States and France–return to its previous plan–which Yerevan and the Karabakh Armenia’s had rejected.

Also in Yerevan–Geremek met late on Tuesday with Arkady Ghoukassian–president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Speaking to reporters after those talks–Geremek said he is "very happy" that the Karabakh authorities are displaying what he called "goodwill" over the OSCE plan. He said he hopes to get a "good answer" in Baku.

Ghoukassian–for his part–told reporters that Stepanakert will give its official reply to the Minsk Group in "four or five days’ time."

He refused to disclose more details of Karabakh’s proposed future status citing the talks’ confidentiality. Earlier in the day–Ghoukassian and Kocharian discussed "the current situation and possible developmen’s in the Karabakh peace process," the Armenian presidential press service said.

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