Karabakh President Meets US Officials

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Former US Ambassador to Syria and Israel Edward Djeredjian and member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Committee of America Peter Rosenblat met Tuesday with Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian as part of their visit to Armenia. Also attending the meeting were Karabakh Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian and US Ambassador to Armenia Michael Lemmon.

Following the meeting held behind close doors–Ghoukassian–who is on an official visit to Yerevan–met with reporters. He said that during the meeting the sides discussed new approaches to the Karabakh settlement. The guests could not–however–meet with Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev–therefore it is too early to speak of any results. Ghoukassian expressed optimism that the aforementioned approaches will have serious prospects. He reiterated Karabakh’s commitment to a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Ghoukassian also reported that he arrived in Yerevan at the American guests’ invitation and expressed optimism that the next meeting will be held in Stepanakert.

"Much depends on the results of the American diplomats’ negotiations with the Azerbaijani president," Ghoukassian said.

He expressed the opinion that the American diplomats’ initiative deserves paying the most serious attention and the USA–as a great power–can play an important role in settling the conflict.

"Everything must be decided at the negotiating table–and the mediators’ task is to find the best solution and develop the mechanisms of the negotiating process," Ghoukassian said. He also stressed that the status of Karabakh is a problem–and if this problem is not resolved others will not be resolved either.

Ghoukassian pointed out that some progress is currently being observed in the attitude of international organizations towards Karabakh. Many such organizations are currently cooperating with the Karabakh government and solving quite a number of economic problems.

Ghoukassian again denied the allegations that Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan is in Karabakh.

Parliament Speaker Khosrov Haroutiunian met Tuesday with Edward Djeredjian–Director of the James Baker Analytical Center at Reis University–and Peter Rosenblat–a well-known American diplomat.

The guests said they had undertaken the visit on their own initiative to assist in the Karabakh settlement within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Djeredjian offered his own opinion about Azerbaijan’s stance in the process and prospects for the ultimate solution to the conflict.

Haroutiunian–in turn–hailed the initiative of the two influential American figures–calling for the appreciation of every single positive tendency observed in the negotiating process.


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