Oskanian Accuses Azeri Counterpart of Lying and Deceit

MAASTRICHT (Combined)–Responding to Azerbaijani Foreign Minister’s address to the OSCE ministerial conference–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said–"I don’t want to respond to the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister’s entire statement item by item–but I want to generalize it by qualifying it as deception–manipulation–and revisionism."

The two ministers were attending the 11th Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council in Maastricht.

In his statement–foreign minister Vilayat Guliev said–"I regret that there was no consensus on the text of the Karabagh conflict," commenting on a meeting between the two ministers a few days earlier.

Oskanian said that a consensus was in fact reached on November 30–in the presence of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and other officials.

Oskanian continued to clarify–"Both sides agreed to the content of the text. The only thing that was unknown was whether the statement would be used or not. The agreement was the following: if there were to be statemen’s on the other conflict Moldova and Georgia–then the Karabagh statement would also be included. But if there weren’t–then Karabagh would not be included in the final text either."

In Maastricht–Oskanian met with the three Minsk Group co-Chairmen to discuss their upcoming visit to the region–to take place more than likely later this week. The group will explore how to resume talks between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Oskanian also met with Georgia’s Acting President Nino Burjanadze to discuss developmen’s in Georgia–upcoming elections–and convey Armenia’s interest in stability for neighbors.

In his address to the conference–Oskanian spoke about the new document on economic strategy–OSCE’s Strategy to Address Threats to Stability and Security in the Twenty-first Century–and a document on Human Trafficking.

"For Armenia–the OSCE is not one organization-among-many. It is the singular institution whose geopolitical realm and membership of 55 encompasses a more inclusive definition of Europe than anyone else’s–the OSCE’s understanding of security is more comprehensive–more multidimensional–and more indivisible than that of any comparable multilateral organization. By putting on equal footing the politico-military–economic–and human dimensions–it assumes and presumes that norms–commitmen’s–and codes are fundamental elemen’s in maintaining security," the Minister said.

The bulk of Oskanian’s statement focused on Georgia and Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR).

"We want for Georgia that which we want for ourselves. Georgia is our good neighbor and friend. It is home to half a million ethnic Armenia’s. Georgia is our major conduit to Europe and to the world. So–at the end of the day–we are no less interested in the stability of Georgia than are Georgians themselves."

Oskanian called for renewed political will to resolve the MKR conflict on the 10th anniversary of the cease-fire–to be marked next year. "Whereas the unresolved conflict in Karabagh is being presented as an element of instability in the region–Karabagh itself is a stable–established entity which can contribute to peace. Let me explain. Next spring–we will mark the 10th anniversary of the world’s longest lasting–and to date–only self-monitored cease-fire. There are two reasons for this success. One is the balance that had been achieved and recognized. The other–perhaps more important–is the political will–on all sides–to avoid bloodshed–to allow people to continue with their lives as their elected leaders work towards finding a solution."

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