Melkumian Meets With OSCE Officials in Vienna.

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Speaking by phone from Vienna Thursday–the foreign minister of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic–Naira Melkumian–told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that the OSCE Minsk Group wants to overcome the deadlock in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process–and that her visit to Vienna serves that purpose.

Naira Melkumian has been invited to Vienna–where the OSCE Minsk Group is holding a three-day extended session. The aim of the meeting–which has started yesterday–is to evaluate the results of last week’s visit by the OSCE co-chairmen to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Naira Melkumian said she disagrees with the view that the work done by OSCE Minsk Group is no longer necessary because it has no new ideas and its previous proposals have not been accepted by all sides.

Melkumian said that Kocharian-Aliyev bilateral meetings and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen’s peace efforts are both important and should proceed in parallel. It is impermissible to stop the Minsk Group negotiating process–the Karabakh Foreign Minister said.

According to Melkumian–the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is very complex issue and it couldn’t be solved this year. "I don’t think that it can be solved in half a year"–she said.

Commenting on the possibility of the resumption of the hostilities–Naira Melkumian said that almost every politician in Azerbaijan–except for Haydar Aliyev is threatening to use force against Karabakh.

"President Haydar Aliyev is perhaps the only politician in Azerbaijan who understands that it is impossible to solve the conflict by use of force. I don’t want a war–but if war breaks out then it will be fought on the Azeri Territory–considering the strength of Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces," said Naira Melkumian.

According Naira Melkumian–the solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in many respects depends on the Azeri position–which has changed recently. The Azeris are now making some corrections taking into account the current realities–Naira Melkumian said–adding that there is an element of unpredictability in the Azeri position.

No one knows what will happen in Azerbaijan after Aliyev. The biggest challenge of the Azeri political elite is to deal with the issue of uncertainty–which will arise after Aliyev leaves the political scene–said Melkumian.


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