Oskanian Discusses Armenia Diaspora Conference in Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL–Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and the leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh discussed in Stepanakert on Tuesday "organizational issues" related to the upcoming conference on Armenia-Diaspora ties–officials said.

The conference–the first in its kind–is due to begin on September 22 and will be attended by representatives of all major organizations in worldwide Armenian communities. Oskanian and Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan co-head a government commission in charge of organizing the event.

Oskanian told members of the Karabakh parliament later in the day that the conference will explore the "need to establish a pan-Armenian umbrella structure." Also on the agenda will be Armenia’s and Karabakh’s "economic development" and the formation of a "single Armenia-Karabakh-Diaspora information space," he said.

Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian was quoted by his press service as saying that the conference should develop a "pan-national strategy and tactics" to meet challenges facing the world’s estimated eight million Armenia’s–most of them living outside Armenia and Karabakh.

Speaking about the current state of the Karabakh peace process–Oskanian said "the Armenian side is now in a better diplomatic position than ever before." He repeated Yerevan’s official position that under a future peace deal the disputed region should be "de-facto independent–de-jure not part of Azerbaijan." This formula means "more than [conventional] autonomy but less than [outright] independence," Oskanian said.

Oskanian met with Ghoukassian Tuesday to discuss cooperation between the foreign ministries of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh as well as preparations for the Armenia-Diaspora conference slated for next month.

The Stepanakert meeting stressed the importance of the conference’s mission for the entire nation in general and for the people of Artsakh in particular to devise a national strategy and tactics–which will make more fruitful and effective cooperation between Armenia–Artsakh and the Diaspora.

Hailing the current political reforms in Nagorno Karabakh–Oskanian stressed the importance of steps aimed at building democracy in state and public life. He assured the Karabakh leader of Armenia’s overall support for Karabakh.

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