Oskanian Addresses OSCE Oslo Meeting

OSLO (RFE/RL)–Addressing the OSCE Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Oslo on Tuesday–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian praised that Organization’s willingness to demonstrate flexibility and use innovative methods in its approach to managing crises and seeking to resolve conflicts.

But he stressed that in its search for solutions to conflicts–the OSCE should acknowledge that each such conflict is unique–and should not "suffer from the collective paralyzing fear of precedent setting."

Oskanian noted the involvement of the CSCE and OSCE since 1992 in seeking for a peaceful solution to the Karabakh conflict.

He said that Armenia "is committed to pursue every possible and credible attempt to resolve the lingering conflicts" in the Transcaucasus in the interests of promoting durable peace and stability in the region.

Oskanian said that the Armenian government considers the most recent draft peace proposal by the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group as "a bold and realistic effort" to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable principles of territorial integrity and national self-determination.

He said the solution proposed was "a clear middle road which may lead to a status [for Karabakh] that the parties can live with."

Oskanian said that in rejecting the latest Minsk Group peace proposal–Azerbaijan has demonstrated "its unwillingness or inability to reach a negotiated settlement of this conflict on the basis of mutual compromises." He said this "unyielding attitude" on the part of Azerbaijan could lead to an escalation of the conflict. Oskanian added that there are "signs of indifference" within the OSCE to Azerbaijan’s rejection of the latest peace proposal. He said this indifference could deepen the impasse in the peace process.

Oskanian affirmed the Armenian government’s "rock-solid" commitment to all OSCE norms–principles and activities–noting that Armenia has joined every decision–declaration and document issued at the Oslo meeting.

He expressed appreciation that following the demise of the USSR–the CSCE had "the vision and leadership" to extend membership to Armenia and the other former Soviet republics–thereby giving Armenia the opportunity "to anchor itself in the community of European nations."

He expressed the hope that the OSCE would consider Armenia’s candidacy for the OSCE chairmanship in office early in the next century–Armenia’s Fourth Millennium.

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