Minister Oskanian Delivers Strong Message to UN General Assembly

NEW YORK–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian delivered Armenia’s annual message at the United Nations on Wednesday–speaking to the 59th Session of the General Assembly on such issues as UN reform–Millennium Development Goals–and the fight against terrorism. At the same time–he addressed the Mountainous Karabagh conflict–and Armenia’s position on prospects for its resolution.

He said that Armenia is ready to "compromise and collaborate" with neighbors only if they are ready to make history–not rewrite it. "We want to work with an Azerbaijan that understands its place in a rule-based international order–not one whose policies–practices and statemen’s threaten the fragile peace and stability of our region."

Azerbaijan maligns the OSCE Minsk Group–stressed Oskanian–in order to mask its refusal to consider proposals.

"For more than half a decade–it has rejected every proposal placed before it from the Common State Proposal in 1998 to the Key West document of 2001," revealing that the same proposals emerged from discussions and negotiations that included the participation of Azerbaijan’s leadership.

He concluded saying that though Armenia’s and Azeris were forcibly linked together during the last century–they have–nevertheless–earned the right to determine–in the coming century–whether they will live in peace.

"If we are serious about becoming full–deserving residents of the European neighborhood–where borders don’t matter–but intentions and tolerance do–we will have to come to terms with our past–with our history–with the realities that have gripped our region."

Local students and representatives of Armenian organizations were present to hear the statement–and later participated in a short question-and-answer period with the Minister.

The speech came at the conclusion of a three-day visit during which Oskanian met with various UN officials–as well as foreign ministers. On Wednesday–the Minister met with the Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan–with whom he discussed various UN issues–as well as matters related to Armenia-UN cooperation. At the Secretary General’s request–the Minister briefed Annan on the Mountainous Karabagh peace process.

Earlier in the day–Oskanian also met with the Secretary General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Juan Mendez. Minister Oskanian held a short meeting with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States Amre Moussa–where the two welcomed Armenia’s inclusion in the Arab League with observer status. Within the margins of the UN–Minister Oskanian conferred with the foreign ministers of China–Turkey–Egypt–and Lebanon. He also met with the US Undersecretary of State Mark Grossman–the US Co-chair of the Minsk Group Ambassador Steven Mann–and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Italy.

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