Kocharian Discusses Meeting with Aliyev

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"Azerbaijan can’t accept the idea of a ‘common state’ underlying the OSCE Minsk Group’s proposals–which–according to the Azeri position–means Karabakh has de facto independence," Azeri President Heidar Aliyev said at a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian last Thursday.

Talking to journalists–Kocharian reported that during the two-hour meeting with Aliyev he expressed his position explicitly–saying "I don’t think that any concessions can be made in this respect."

Kocharian stated that the very idea of "common state" is another concession made by Armenia–which initiated the movement being guided by the idea of uniting Karabakh and Armenia–but later Karabakh declared its independence. Meanwhile–Azerbaijan continues to adhere to the idea of Karabakh’s being an autonomy as part of Azerbaijan.

Kocharian regarded useful the portion of the meeting that concerned the creation of an atmosphere of mutual confidence.

"The matter concerns economic steps–let them be not very big at first," Kocharian told reporters.

Kocharian is of the opinion that it wouldn’t be correct to initiate another process of peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict simultaneously with the one within the framework of OSCE–since in this case the parties concerned will have the opportunity to maneuver from one mediator to another. "The previous negotiating period has shown that it brings no results. Everything will be within the framework of the Minsk Group in addition to the general process."

"We need to continue these talks on the Karabakh issue," Aliyev told reporters after returning to Azerbaijan from Moscow. "Because–as of yet–Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s stances on the problem did not agree."

Meeting with Russian Parliamentary Speaker Yevgeny Primakov–Aliyev expressed his thoughts on the Minsk Group’s "Common State" proposal and asked that Russia becomes active in the Minsk Group and suggest new proposals.

In a meeting with CIS leaders–Aliyev brought up Russia’s military assistance to Armenia and complained about Russia’s military expansion in the Transcaucasian region. "Even though I have written to Boris Yeltsin–Russia continues to disregard our opinions," Aliyev said. "For that reason I made a complaint at the meeting with CIS leaders and demanded an explanation by Russia for its actions," concluded Aliyev.

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