Azerbaijan’s Refusal to Hold Direct Talks Impedes Settlement Says Kocharian

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia is interested in developing relations with Great Britain–President Robert Kocharian said Tuesday during a meeting with British House of Commons members Peter Emery and Edward Rollands. Kocharian said that orientation to Europe is a priority in Armenian foreign policy and the country is striving for European values.

The visiting officials said they expected the president to present his approaches to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict–as well as other issues of regional concern.

Kocharian emphasized that Armenia had expressly stated its approaches toward the Karabakh conflict resolution–adding that there were several principles on which the peace process should be based–among them the principle of balance between the sides to the conflict.

Kocharian also pointed to the continuous exclusion of Nagorno Karabakh as a side and international security guarantees for the population of Karabakh as other principles to be considered in the peace process.

Kocharian said he considers the latest proposals by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Minsk Group to be an intermediate option that can become a basis for conflict solution.

Attaching importance to immediate contacts between the sides to the conflict–Kocharian said that currently one of the circumstances impeding the settlement is Azerbaijan’s refusal for direct talks with Nagorno Karabakh–adding that a peaceful resolution could be derived only through such direct dialogue.

Turning to regional issues–Kocharian said that the rich potential of the region can be best utilized only if the region was regarded as an integral economic territory for trade and business. He also stressed the need for continued democratic processes in the countries of the region

By accepting the OSCE Minsk Group’s most recent proposals as a basis for talks–Armenia reiterated its readiness for mutual compromise to reach a peaceful solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict–Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian said Monday when receiving the British delegation.

Oskanian detailed the background of the conflict as well as the current situation.

"Unlike the constructive approach adopted by Armenia–Azerbaijan continues its hard-line policy thereby bringing to naught all efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully," the minister underscored.

The British delegation praised Armenia’s posturing in the matter–giving Armenia a possibility of realizing its potential to the fullest in the new geopolitical order.

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