Minsk Group Waits for Armenian and Azeri Presidents to Respond on Proposal

BAKU (Armenpress)–The OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group Russian co-chairman Yuri Merzlyakov said that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have not responded to the Group’s proposal for a meeting of the leaders on a resolution to the Karabagh conflict.

Armenian president Robert Kocharian told the Armenian community of Greece last weekend that mediators are urging the Armenian and Azeri presidents to meet in January 2006. "The co-chairmen are in a hurry considering that parliamentary and presidential elections will be held in Armenia in 2007 and 2008," he said.

"The elections in Azerbaijan have already passed. This means that 2006 will be free from election tensions and we can work actively," Kocharian said–adding that he sees a "possibility of moving forward."

Merzlyakov said the co-chairmen had sent letters to the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan requesting to receive them in mid-December. He also said their letters contain some other proposals–to which they do not know how the leaders reacted.

Merzlyakov hoped for a response when the Mink Group the foreign ministers of both countries meet in Ljubljana.

He said the co-chairs are likely to have separate meetings with the foreign ministers. "It is rather difficult to hold a joint meeting even for 2 hours due to the intense schedule of both ministers in the framework of the international forums and 15 minutes does not suit us," Merzlyakov said.

"Therefore–we will meet separately; we will set out our proposals–and listen to each of them," he said without ruling out an informal joint meeting of the co-chairs with the ministers.

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