OSCE Officials Visit Nagorno Karabakh

STEPANAKERT (Noyan Tapan)–On February 6–Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Foreign Minister Naira Melkoumian received the OSCE Chairman-in-Office’s Personal Representative Andrzej Kasprzic and Representative of the Chairman of the OSCE Permanent Council for Minsk Conference Affairs Andreas Launa–an Austrian diplomat–who were on a two-day visit to Nagorno Karabakh. The visit of the delegation was connected with Austria’s taking over the OSCE rotating chairmanship in January.

Karabakh authorities hope for Austria’s assistance to both the Minsk Group Cochairs and the parties to the conflict to find mutually acceptable ways of settling the problem–the Melkoumian declared.

At the request of the guests–Melkoumian presented the current stage of the Karabakh settlement process–which is now practically deadlocked because of what she called Azerbaijan’s non-constructive stance. In this regard–the minister stressed that boosted efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Cochairmen would make it possible to get the peace process back on track.

The sides also touched on sundry issues–including the creation of a regional system of security in the Caucasus–and the upcoming visit of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to the region.

The same day the OSCE officials held a meeting with Karabakh Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanian. During the meeting the sides discussed the situation at the Karabakh-Azeri front-line–and possible solutions to humanitarian problems.

Earlier that day the OSCE delegation visited three Azeri POWs. The officials were satisfied with the jail conditions.

On February 7–Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian received the OSCE Chairman-in-Office’s Personal Representative Andrzej Kasprzic (Poland)and Representative of the Chairman of the OSCE Permanent Council for Minsk Conference Affairs Andreas Launa (Austria).

The Austrian diplomat–who had arrived in Stepanakert on a fact-finding visit–shared his first impressions of the tour with Arkady Ghoukassian.

Ghoukassian expressed a hope that Austria–as an OSCE chairing country–will spare no effort to put the Karabakh settlement on a solid foundation.

The meeting discussed the current stage of the Karabakh peace process and problems of regional concern.

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