Oskanian Says MKR Can Participate in Talks after Principles Are Agreed on

YEREVAN (Armenpress/RFE/RL)–Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian was asked Wednesday to comment on a statement made by the president of Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR)–Arkady Ghukasian–who in a weekend interview called on Armenia to walk out of negotiations with Azerbaijan unless they involve representatives of his government.

Ghukasian argued that Azerbaijan’s refusal to directly negotiate with Karabagh’s Armenia’s is the main obstacle to a resolution of the Karabagh conflict–saying also that Baku is dealing with Yerevan only for "propaganda" purposes.

In response to Ghukasian’s commen’s–Oskanian said–"There was a time when Armenia’s position was the following: Whatever Nagorno-Karabagh and Azerbaijan agreed to would be acceptable to Armenia," he said.

"However–in those days we received proposals which were completely unacceptable to the Armenian side. From the time when the Republic of Armenia became more actively involved in the negotiations–the kinds of proposals which have been put on the table are based on principles which can indeed be discussed."

He said that Minsk Group proposals have grown more acceptable to the Armenian side in recent years and pointed out that MKR’s unrecognized status may have affected some countries’ willingness to negotiate with them.

But Oskanian added that–"there is an understanding among all–including the Azerbaijanis–that once agreement has been reached on the basic principles and the work has begun on the details of the agreement–Nagorno-Karabagh will join the talks."

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