Oskanian Refers to Border Opening as ‘Extremely Exaggerated’

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Ahead of his meeting later this month in New York with Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said that talk of an imminent reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border has been "extremely exaggerated."I have never cherished great hopes in that regard," he said–adding that his upcoming meeting with Gul will clarify to the situation.

The previous Oskanian-Gul meeting held in May fueled speculation that Ankara may soon lift its economic embargo imposed on Armenia in 1993 out of solidarity with Azerbaijan.

In his meeting with reporters–Oskanian also discussed the Mountainous Karabagh Republic conflict–saying that after next month’s presidential election in Azerbaijan–international mediators will step up their efforts to find a resolution to the conflict. Armenia–he said does not expect that the new peace proposals will differ markedly from previous ones.

"It is true that there will be greater [Minsk Group] activity after the Azerbaijani elections," Oskanian told the news conference. "But whether that activity will increase chances of a settlement is difficult to say."

But he cautioned that the success of the new initiative of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe–led by France–Russia and the United States–remains an open question.

The top Russian representative to the group Yuri Merzlyakov–announced last week that he and his French and US counterparts will tour the zone of conflict in late October or early November with a peace plan that could prove "decisive" for a Karabagh settlement. He refused to disclose its content.

The three co-chairs were due to meet in Vienna on Monday to finalize details of the document. No information on the meeting has been released.

Oskanian said Yerevan is not yet aware of what they plan to submit to the conflicting parties–but suggested that their proposals will be based on agreemen’s reached by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2001. "The co-chairs say that it will be a new version of the old proposals," he said. "So it appears that there will be continuity with new emphases. "


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