Talvitie Confirms Stepped up European Involvement in Peace Process

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–Armenia’s inclusion in the European Union (EU) Wider Europe program–the country’s relations with the EU and Turkey–as well as the Karabagh conflict were among the topics discussed by Armenia’s foreign minister Vartan Oskanian and EU special representative for the South Caucasus Heikki Talvitie who arrived in Yerevan after a two-day visit to Mountainous Karabagh Republic.

During a joint news conference with Oskanian–Talvitie–who is on a regional tour–reaffirmed the EU’s intention to play a greater role in the international efforts to end the Karabagh conflict. He said he maintains regular contacts with the Minsk Group co-chairs.

"I have the mandate to assist in this process," Talvitie said–adding that the EU is ready to support "confidence-building measures" between the parties.

Oskanian confirmed that a team of international mediators will visit Armenia–Azerbaijan and MKR later this month–but will not submit a formal peace proposal to the conflicting parties.

"Negotiations at the level of presidents and foreign ministers have not yet reached a point where the co-chairs have enough material to put something on paper," Oskanian said. "We are still not there and I don’t expect that the co-chairs will bring anything written during their visit."

On Tuesday–Talvitie paid his first-ever visit to Karabagh as the new representative in the region. In Stepanakert–he discussed prospects for conflict resolution with the MKR leadership.

His delegation also met with Armenian President Kocharian who conveyed the EU representative’s frequent visits to the region confirm the body’s growing interest in the South Caucasus–particularly Armenia. Armenia’s relations with the EU and Turkey–and the Karabagh conflict were discussed.

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