Oskanian Outlines Karabakh Peace Policy

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia and Karabakh see a compromise that will grant Karabakh a status of something above self-rule but lower than independence–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said during his meeting with the visiting US Congressmen August 11. From this perspective Armenia and Karabakh prefer the most recent peace plan proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group presenting something common between the principles of nations’ self-determination and territorial integrity. Preference is also given to the "common state" notion as a formulation that determines Karabakh’s status and makes it possible to establish it as a result of signing a document during subsequent talks.

The sides reportedly praised the US Government’s measures to facilitate economic cooperation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They emphasized the need for retaining Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act as well as called for direct negotiations between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Karabakh.

Both sides called for a peaceful solution to the Karabakh conflict through compromises acceptable to all parties in the conflict.

"We’ve come here because we respect the people of Artsakh," Rep. Connie Morella said during a meeting with Karabakh government officials.

The US congressmen announced their intentions to lend help to Artsakh in building its economy. Karabakh Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian stressed that the Karabakh is following a liberal policy both in foreign relations and in economic affairs. The government of Nagorno-Karabakh is interested in assistance to small and medium-sized businesses in the country.

Asked to comment on factors that might jeopardize the establishment of peace in the region–Danielian said that the Karabakh government unequivocally supports the policy being pursued by the country’s president. The solution to the Karabakh problem depends on Karabakh’s economic strength–your and international community’s assistance. We are not seeking to solve the problem by force–though one thing is clear: we fought for freedom. We know that our freedom must never hinder the freedoms of other nations–and we would like our neighbors to think likewise," Danielian declared.

Saying that mutually advantageous cooperation is especially important in building the economy–Danielian said that the freedom of investmen’s is guaranteed in the republic and there will be no problems in this way. "The development of democracy–the creation of a law-abiding state is a corner-stone for the Karabakh authorities," he concluded.

The Congressional delegation arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday–with the unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan topping the agenda of their meetings with the disputed region’s leadership. The delegation headed by Rep. Constance Morella arrived in Stepanakert from Yerevan where they spent two days meeting with Armenia’s leaders.

Arkady Ghoukassian–the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–assured the US legislators of his government’s continuing support for the most recent international plan to end the conflict–officials in Stepanakert said. Ghoukassian also thanked the US Congress for its approval of direct American aid to Karabakh for the second year running. The delegation is due to fly to the Azeri capital Baku on Wednesday.

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