OSCE Head Arrives in Yerevan

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The OSCE Chairwoman–Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner arrived in Yerevan July 16 to see how the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe can promote the peace process in Nagorno-Karabakh. She will make a visit to Azerbaijan at a later time.

Austria has supported the admission of Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe–the minister said on Sunday. A number of formalities are still to be done to register their membership in the European organization. The minister thinks that the admission will help to settle the Karabakh conflict.

Right upon her arrival in Yerevan–Armenia’s prime minister Andranik Markarian met with Benita Ferrero-Waldner and the delegation led by her.

According to the government information and public relations department–Andranik Markarian noted that Armenian side welcomes Austria’s efforts to make the OSCE stronger and develop opportunities for peace as quickly as possible. He reiterated Yerevan’s official position on the European direction and movement towards integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures–which was one of the priorities of the country’s foreign policy. After becoming a member of the OSCE–Armenia will tend to support the establishment of European security by means of the comprehensive security concept of the organization.

While presenting the last developmen’s in the process of peaceful regulation of the Karabakh conflict–Mr. Markarian assured Armenia’s readiness to accept all those compromise solutions–which will be acceptable to Karabakh’s authorities and people–and will exclude the territorial swaps.

According to the prime minister–Armenia is ready for the regional economic co-operation–as well as for supporting the formation of regional security system. In Markarian’s opinion–these are the key factors for establishing stability and mutual trust.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner said that Austria–as a presiding country–is optimistic and expects a regulation of the conflicts of the South Caucasus and Nagorno Karabakh soon. She underlined the importance of Armenian and Azeri presidents’ direct meetings–and expressed hope that they will result in a long and comprehensive resolution by the assistance of Minsk group.

Issues concerning Armenian-Austrian relations were also discussed during the meeting. The importance of the activation of bilateral economic cooperation was also underlined.

Later during a meeting with Armenia’s foreign minister Vartan Oskanian–the OSCE delegation particularly referred to the necessity of economic cooperation between Armenia and Azerbaijan–noting that it will improve the mutual trust between the two countries.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner congratulated Armenia on behalf of the OSCE on Armenia’s success on the way of becoming a member of the Council of Europe and expressed hope that the Ministers’ Council will approve Armenia’s accession to the CE.

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