Ghoukassian Encouraged by Minsk Group Chair’s Visit

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–"I do not think the mediators have new proposals. In any event–the visit by US co-chair will be a good opportunity for us to present our position to Matthew Bryza and other co-chairs," said Nagorno Karabakh Republic president Arkady Ghoukassian when commenting on the upcoming visit by the OSCE Minsk Group US Co-Chair–who is scheduled to visit Stepanakert.

Ghoukassian noted that Karabakh’s participation is necessary not only to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic itself–but also to the conflict resolution process.

"Sooner or later Nagorno-Karabakh will have to take part in the talks–as the conflict cannot be resolved without taking into account the position of the people of Karabakh. When will this happen? I do not think Azerbaijan is ready for any dialogue with Karabakh today. Azerbaijan avoids any discussion with us–as its position is harmful," Ghoukassian said.

Ghoukasian also said that a referendum on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh was already held–as a result of which the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was established.

"If we had guarantees that the international community would recognize a future referendum–we would think that matter over," Ghoukassian said.

Meanwhile in Yerevan–the European Union Envoy for the South Caucasus Peter Semneby told a press conference that the EU regrets the failure to reach an agreement on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict during the recent G8 summit.

"Next year the borders of the European Union will closely approach the region. That is why the EU attaches such importance to the Karabakh conflict resolution," Semneby remarked.

He also underscored that the EU would not take part in the negotiations but was ready to assist in establishing mutual understanding between the countries within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy.

The Finnish diplomat said there was no reason for changing the format of the peace process. "We are not going to substitute the OSCE Minsk Group. That is why I am not speaking of any new proposal or ways resolve the conflict," the EU diplomat said.

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