Clinton Urges End to Karabakh Conflict During White House Kocharian Meeting

WASHINGTON-On the third day of his working visit to the nation’s capital–President Robert Kocharian Tuesday met with President Clinton at the White House–where Clinton urged his Armenian counterpart to find a quick settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Kocharian arrived at the White House at 5:05 p.m. and the meeting which lasted more than 40 minutes focused mainly on the Karabakh conflict issue. Other matters discussed by the two leaders were US assistance to Armenia and strengthening of democratic norms in the country.

"Our message to President Kocharian was the US will do its part–along with the international community–to support and implement a durable settlement and that the opportunity is there if both sides want to pursue peace," said National Security Council spokesman PJ Crowley.

Crowley also announced following the White House meeting that the co-chairmen of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk Group co-chairmen–US–France and Russia–will travel to the conflict region next month.

Aside from the Karabakh conflict resolution–Clinton and Kocharian touched on larger regional security issues–as well as economic development.

Kocharian had the opportunity to discuss his meeting during a Wednesday luncheon hosted by the Armenian-American Congressional Caucus at Capitol Hill.

"As I told the president–I met with the president of Azerbaijan Aliyev several days ago in Moscow. We decided to continue our active contacts. We will be meeting in August and in the coming several months we will have more meetings to continue to find a resolution to the conflict," Kocharian told Congressional leaders during the Caucus luncheon.

He also added that maintaining Secton 907–a measure restricting US aid to Azerbaijan until that country ends its blockade of Armenia–and the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide are important issues within the realm of US-Armenia relations.

Following his meeting at the White House Tuesday–Kocharian met with a delegation of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau at the Watergate Hotel–during which issues of mutual importance were addressed.

The ARF Bureau was represented by Garo Armenian and Dr. Viken A. Hovsepian. Also attending the meeting were the chairmen of the ARF Central Committees of Eastern and Western United States–Vazken Ayvazian and Hovig Saliba–respectively.

The two sides discussed the domestic political developmen’s in Armenia–the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and strengthening of Diaspora-Armenia relations. Following this meeting–Kocharian was the guest of the Armenian National Committee of America during a reception hosted by Washington-area activists Mr. & Mrs. Dertad and Seta Manguikian.

The more than 100 guests–included community activists–leaders and organizational representatives–who had the opportunity to personally meet with the president and discuss issues of interests.

Earlier Tuesday–Kocharian was honored by former Sen. Bob Dole during a luncheon–and met with leaders of Jewish-American organizations.

Kocharian is due to meet with the leadership of World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

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