Ordway Says Military Settlement of MKR Not an Option

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–US Ambassador to Armenia John Ordway told a news conference on Wednesday that the United States opposes a military settlement of the Karabagh conflict.

"A military solution would not only hurt the two countries–but would also threaten regional security," said Ordway responding to aggressive statemen’s made during presidential election campaigning in Azerbaijan.

Just this week Azeri Prime Minister and presidential candidate Ilham Aliyev declared that the country’s main goal was to liberate Karabagh. "If we see that a peaceful way does not bring about results–we have a strong army and strong people–which will assist us in liberating our lands."

The ambassador also said that though he is unaware of the new proposals put forth by the Minsk Group–he nevertheless hopes the talks would result in final settlement.

Speaking of the pre-election environment in Azerbaijan–the diplomat simply cited State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher who recently expressed hope that Azerbaijani elections would meet the OSCE standards.

Ordway indirectly countered US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman who–during an address at an International symposium in Turkey–said that as a precondition to Turkey opening its border–Armenia’should recognize Turkey’s territorial integrity.

"As far as I know Armenia has never claimed territory from Turkey; the opening of the border would contribute to dialogue between the countries," and would pose no threat to Armenia’s security. "There is no such threat from Turkey. We will confront it–if there is one," he said.

On Armenia’s willingness to commit military doctors and demining specialists to assist US efforts in Iraq–Ordway commended the decision–saying–"We have received an offer–which we very much appreciate–from the government of Armenia to participate in the coalition peace-keeping forces in Iraq. . . There are technical talks going on right now between the Central Command in Florida and the Armenian military–and once those talks are finished we will know whether and to what extent we will be in a position to accept the offer."

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