Karabagh Tops Talks between Oskanian Powell

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian met with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and other top officials on Monday to discuss the Mountainous Karabagh conflict–during Oskanian’s visit to Washington.

Commenting on the meeting–State Department spokesman Richard Boucher noted that Oskanian and Powell "discussed progress towards settlement of the Mountainous Karabagh conflict."They also discussed the possibilities for improving relations between Turkey and Armenia and Armenia’s prospects for receiving funds under the Millennium Challenge Account," Boucher added. "We also understand that Foreign Minister Oskanian is meeting today with Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Beth Jones–to go into some of these issues in more detail."

Oskanian was also due to meet with national security adviser Condoleeza Rice–and senior Pentagon officials. Armenian government officials have rarely held such high-level talks in the US capital in recent year.

The meeting comes in advance of the June 21 Prague meeting between Oskanian and Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov.

The two men have met twice in recent weeks under the auspices of the OSCE’s Minsk Group–co-chaired by the United States–Russia–and France. They have both issued cautiously optimistic statemen’s–with Mamedyarov saying late last month that the peace talks are "intensifying" after a period of stagnation.

Oskanian’s trip to Washington follows an unexpected visit to Yerevan on June 3 by Steven Mann–America’s chief Karabagh negotiator.

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