Minsk Group Cochairmen Visit Nagorno Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–The OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen ended their visit to Nagorno Karabakh on December 13.

The previous evening–after their meeting with Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian–the international intermediaries held a news briefing where they commented on their most recent consultations with the Karabakh leaders.

The Russian cochairman–Nikolay Gribkov–described the talk with the Karabakh president as highly interesting and instructive. He said the intermediaries had not brought any new proposals on the Karabakh conflict solution with them. The chief goal of their visit–according to him–was to discuss the current state and prospects of the Karabakh settlement with the leaders of the conflicting sides–apart from economic issues–so as to determine further steps of the mediators aimed at "achieving a durable and fair settlement."

Gribkov described the Kocharian-Aliyev dialogue as "an important political factor which would pave the way for undoing the Karabakh knot." The diplomat pronounced for Nagorno Karabakh’s participation in this process as "without appreciating the interests of Nagorno Karabakh–no genuine and fair settlement could be achieved in the region."

His French counterpart–Jean-Jacques Gaillard–said that the ‘neither war–nor peace’ state of affairs could not suit the peoples of the region. He conditioned the visit also by the cochairmen’s desire to explore the possibilities of the region’s economic advancement–however–he said–investmen’s in the region’s economies were possible only if investors were sure of the future. In Gaillard’s view–economic support to the region’s countries will have a positive impact on the political settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

OSCE Minsk Group Cochairman Carey Cavanaugh of the US also called for economic improvemen’s in the region. He positively assessed the negotiations between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan which–he thinks–have created a positive atmosphere in the region increasing hopes for a peaceful settlement. Cavanaugh also pronounced for involving Nagorno Karabakh in the peace process.

Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian met with the Minsk Group Co-Chairmen on Sunday. Also attending the meeting were Speaker of the Karabakh National Assembly Oleg Yesayan–Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian–Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian–Minister of Defense Seiran Ohanian–Chairman of the Standing Foreign Relations Committee–Karabakh National Assembly–Boris Aroushanian and others.

During the meeting the sides reiterated that the settlement of the conflict is impossible without Karabakh’s interests being considered.

In his turn–Ghoukassian pointed out that Karabakh has always supported the political settlement of the conflict–which is impossible without Karabakh’s full involvement in this process.

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