Karabakh Talks Threatened By Political Turmoil Oskanian Warns

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Internationally-sponsored negotiations to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have been stalled by continuing government in-fighting in Armenia–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Wednesday–in a stark warning to the opponents of President Robert Kocharian.

The latest war of words between Kocharian and his government rivals–Oskanian said–prevents the Armenian side from reaching a peace deal with Azerbaijan on the disputed Karabakh enclave.

"The negotiations have stalled and the main reason for that is the political situation in Armenia," the minister told the parliament.

"In these conditions–it’s hard to hold peace talks–make promises and reach agreemen’s. As long as the political situation doesn’t improve I see no way we can work seriously in that direction," he said. Oskanian complained that due to the government turmoil he has "reduced to minimum my activities abroad," having made no foreign trips in the last three weeks.

Kocharian and his Azeri counterpart Haydar Aliyev reportedly made major progress on Karabakh after a series of direct talks last year.

The peace process was considerably slowed by the October 27 assassinations in parliament.

Allies of Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan–notably the Yerkrapah Union of Karabakh war veterans–favor a hard line on the settlement of the conflict with Azerbaijan.

Oskanian reiterated that the parliament assassinations in Yerevan have had a "very negative" impact on the process sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The OSCE’s Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States–Russia and France has been trying to revise its most peace plan to make it acceptable to Azerbaijan.

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