Kocharian Sestanovich Discuss Karabakh Conflict

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–On October 20–President Robert Kocharian received a delegation led by Advisor to the US Secretary of State for Newly Independent States–Ambassador Stephen Sestanovich.

According to the presidential press service–the talks focused on the process and prospects of the Karabakh settlement. The US diplomat assured Kocharian of his country’s interest in a quick settlement of the conflict and expressed readiness to boost efforts to solve the problem. Hailing the direct dialogue between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan–Sestanovich emphasized that the good will exhibited by both countries’ leaders was reassuring and offered an occasion for optimism.

Kocharian and Sestanovich also discussed the situation in the Caucasus–exchanged views on the ongoing processes in the region–and discussed the upcoming OSCE summit in Istanbul.

Sestanovich also met with Armenian Prime Minister Vazgen Sargssian. During the meeting the US officials said that Turkey is ready to act as a peacemaker in the Karabakh settlement and take steps towards establishing relations with Armenia. Sestanovich explained that he had come to this conclusion after his meetings with senior Turkish officials.

Sargssian reportedly expressed satisfaction with the fact that the US Government has responded to the proposals of the Armenian Government made during the Washington meeting regarding assistance in improving Armenian-Turkish relations.

The meeting also discussed prospects of trade and economic relations between the two countries–ways to clamp down on corruption in Armenia and possible US assistance in the matter.

During the current period a number of very important and interesting processes are expected in the Caucasus–said on October 20.

In Sestanovich’s opinion–the importance of the current stage is conditioned primarily by next month’s OSCE summit in Istanbul–where the region’s states are hoping to achieve a series of important agreemen’s. A number of these agreemen’s will regard conventional weapons–energy projects and regional conflicts.

"We are closely following the direct Armenian-Azeri contacts and are seeking ways to facilitate the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Today we learned from the president of Armenia how the Armenian side imagines the settlement–tomorrow in Baku we will learn the Azeri point of view," he said.

During the one-day visit Sestanovich and his entourage held meetings with President Robert Kocharian–Prime Minister Vazgen Sargssian–National Security Minister Serge Sargssian and Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian. The delegation members held meetings at the Ministry of Defense. Sestanovich expressed satisfaction with the level of current bilateral relations. "It’s good that Armenia and the US have much to talk about," he said.

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