Russian Newspaper Claims Russia Saved Karabakh Settlement

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An article entitled "Russia’saved the Karabakh settlement" was published in the November 6 issue of the Moscow Komersant newspaper. The article contains some details about Armenian President Robert Kocharian’s visit to Moscow. In particular–the author of the article claims that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin "advised the Armenian president not to stop half-way–but end the negotiations [for the Karabakh settlement] with the signing of an agreement with Azerbaijan." The articles goes on to say that Kocharian did not argue–and that on November 5–the president stated that "a final variant of the settlement will be possible during the Istanbul Summit."

Commenting on the article–Presidential Spokesman Vahe Gabrielian pointed out that "it is natural that being one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen–Russia in interested in the Karabakh settlement. But I do not understand how any reports on the leaders’ discussions about the negotiations could have been made–because mass media representatives were not present there."

As for the Istanbul Summit–Gabrielian said that before the October 27 assassinations–the president had stated: "Armenia does not associate the Istanbul Summit with the signing of any documen’s related to the final settlement of the Karabakh conflict."

At the same time–Gabrielian reported that since October 27–the president pointed out the need for a time out–because he noted that "it is necessary that Armenia’should have stability and strong authorities during the Karabakh settlement."

The following is an excerpt from the mentioned Russian article.

"Over the last few months Russia was jealously watching the successes of the American diplomacy–which snatched the initiative in the Karabakh settlement from Moscow and the OSCE. Washington’s powerful pressure on Yerevan and Baku produced phenomenal results. The negotiations–which have not made any headway for four years–have now come close to the conclusion of a peaceful agreement. Americans planned that the agreement would be signed at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul [November 18-19]. But the shots in the Armenian Parliament questioned the conclusion of any agreemen’s.

"Voices started to be heard in Kocharian’s closest surroundings that under the circumstances ‘it is not worth hurrying’ and that ‘Turkey is not the best place for Armenia’s,’ so such documen’s should not be signed there. The opponents of the Karabakh settlement exerted pressure on Kocharian before as well. He was able to resist the pressure–but after the act of terrorism the Armenian president possibly had the temptation to take advantage of the situation and if not to break off then–at least–to hinder the negotiations that were swiftly nearing completion.

"Moscow caught these doubts and decided to become co-authors in the Karabakh settlement with the Americans. Kocharian–who arrived in Moscow accompanied by the minister of defense and foreign minister–held negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Prime Minister Valdimir Putin. They advised the Armenian president not to stop half-way and end the negotiations with the signing of an agreement with Azerbaijan. Kocharian did not get into an argument. On November 5–he stated that ‘final variant of the settlement is possible during the Istanbul Summit.’

"To emphasize his special attitude to the guest–Boris Yeltsin invited him to the state dacha ‘Ogaryevo,’ where in an informal atmosphere of confidence he summarized the results of the Armenian president’s negotiations with the Russian prime minister and foreign minister–whereafter he could call Washington and triumphantly report that it was Russia that saved the Karabakh settlement."

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