Ball in Baku’s Court Says Armenian Foreign Minister

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Talking about the prospects for resolving the Mountainous Karabagh conflict–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said that "serious progress" was achieved during his four meetings with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Prague and Strasbourg over the past six months.

"We can now enter the second stage of the Prague meetings and deepen the achievemen’s of the first stage," Oskanian said. "Azerbaijan has announced that it would wait for Armenia’s response to begin the second stage of the negotiations. I can announce through your Radio that Armenia has already given its positive answer and is ready to resume the negotiations as early as tomorrow."

The Armenian Foreign Minister characterized as "a diplomatic mistake" Azerbaijan’s initiative to include in the agenda of UN General Assembly the issue of the resettlement of Armenian families on Armenian-controlled Azerbaijani territories around Mountainous Karabagh.

"Azerbaijan should not hope to continue the negotiations within OSCE Minsk Group and at the same time expect other solutions for separate issues picked from the whole package in other instances. It never happens," Oskanian said. "Either we continue the negotiations within the Minsk Group–trying to reach a solution of the whole problem–or Azerbaijan can take the issue to other instances–seeking separate solutions; in that case–Baku will have to deal with the authorities of Karabagh. The ball today is in their court."

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