OSCE Minsk Group Co Chairs Arrive in Region

BAKU (combined sources)–Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group arrived in Baku on Thursday to prepare for the next round of Kocharian-Aliev talks on the regulation of the Karabakh conflict–scheduled for mid-June in Geneva.

Following a meeting with Azeri President Heydar Aliev on Friday–the co-chairs said the efforts of both the Azeri and Armenian presidents will hopefully bring about a resolution of the conflict. Aliev responded by saying his and Kocharian’s efforts alone are not sufficient in resolving the conflict.

US co-chair Carey Cavanaugh said the international community must pay attention to the Karabakh conflict–in addition to bold steps–difficult concessions–and a serious examination of the situation–so that a peace deal can be achieved.

The Russian and French co-chairs also expressed confidence in a resolution of the conflict in the near future.

Nikolay Gribkov–head of the Russian delegation–stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin highly appreciates Aliev’s role in the peace process. Gribkov stressed that Azerbaijan can rely on Russian–US and French help in the formation of a treaty–even though there is no need to envision a treaty anytime soon since there are difficult and serious tasks ahead. He also mentioned the fact that both the Azeri and Armenian presidents are interested in a compromise which would be mutually acceptable.

The French co-chair stated the Karabakh issue belongs not only to Armenia and Azerbaijan–but also to the international community–which should have a role in the peace process.

President Aliev appreciated the efforts of Russia–France and the US–which are an indication of their desire to resolve the conflict. He mentioned how the resolution of the conflict would be a decisive factor not only for Azerbaijan and Armenia–but for the entire South Caucasus. The Azeri leader said it is difficult to predict when a peace deal can be achieved. The continuing efforts of Kocharian–the co-chairs–and him will hopefully bring about a resolution soon he added.

In conclusion–Aliev said he does not agree that the resolution of the conflict solely depends on the dialogue between Kocharian and him. According to him–their efforts should be completed by enthusiastic steps taken by the OSCE Minsk Group chairs.

The group will meet with Armenian President Robert Kocharian on Monday in Yerevan–after visiting Karabakh.

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