No Settlement Scheme Proposed During Kocharian Clinton Meeting

WASHINGTON (Noyan Tapan)–No new ideas or approaches to the Karabakh conflict resolution were proposed during the Clinton-Kocharian talks–on the contrary–the United States wanted to learn about the Moscow meeting of Kocharian and Aliyev–Liberty Radio reported quoting Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian.

The meeting did not result in any essential progress–but the American meetings were very important in the sense that many things were clarified.

The US was informed in detail about Armenia’s expectations from the settlement and further development. Moreover–Oskanian thinks that one couldn’t expect anything more from this visit–as after a long break in Kocharian-Aliyev dialogue–the two met only recently in Moscow–reaching to no new agreemen’s–but simply expressing their willingness to continue dialogue and solve the problem peacefully through compromises.

"So–a few coming meetings may bring clarity into further developmen’s; "during the Washington meeting it was impossible to determine the trend more clearly," said Oskanian.

The Minister denied the opinion that the United States links economic aid and cooperation with Armenia primarily with the progress in the negotiating process. "I can say for sure that these two processes should be developing simultaneously–and this is a general acknowledged view. One cannot wait for the settlement to start economic cooperation. Not only bilateral–but also regional cooperation cannot wait for the peaceful settlement of the problem and everybody realizes this," he underscored.

In substantiation of his words Oskanian referred to the fact that the US has not decreased its aid to Armenia–on the contrary–this aid has considerably grown as compared to the previous years. Consequently–this aid is in no way linked to the Karabakh conflict resolution. Although some additional aid in the form of post-conflict assistance is indeed linked to the settlement.

Oskanian said that during the visit–Armenia has laid special emphasis on its economic development and more effective use of the aid already rendered as part of economic development programs.

Among the issues raised during bilateral consultations with US Administration officials were Armenia’s membership in the World Trade Organization and avoidance of double taxation to be agreed on with the US.

Both the issues may become major stimulus in the context of providing Armenia with additional investmen’s.

According to Oskanian–as a result of the visit one can expect that US aid to Armenia will remain unchanged and there will be new stimuli to more active participation of American business in the economic life of Armenia.

Oskanian described the fact of the simultaneous admission of Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe as positive–"as it will be instrumental in settling the Karabakh conflict."

It is clear that the CE assessed the course of democratic changes in Armenia more positively than similar processes taking place in Azerbaijan–said the minister. Yet–simultaneous admission is accounted for by political considerations to keep up the balance.

"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 following the Clinton-Kocharian meeting.

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.

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