Aliyev, Kocharian Set for Key Meeting

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have tentatively agreed to meet early next month for potentially decisive talks on Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said on Monday. Oskanian told RFE/RL that the meeting, to be held in the Russian city of Saint-Petersburg on the sidelines of a June 9 summit of former Soviet republics, will likely be finally confirmed during international mediators next visit to the conflict zone scheduled for next week. Two of the three mediators, Russia’s Yuri Merzlyakov and Frances Bernard Fassier, already visited Yerevan and Baku last week to prepare for the crucial Armenian-Azeri summit. They said Presidents Robert Kocharian and Ilham Aliyev agreed to hold face-to-face talks. They expressed hope that the two leaders will agree on the basic principles of peaceful settlement proposed by the French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. If the Saint-Petersburg meeting is successful, then the number of principles that have not yet been fully agreed on will be practically brought down to zero, Merzlyakov told reporters in Yerevan on Thursday. Oskanian was more cautious in that regard, saying that the conflicting parties are still trying to bring their positions closer to each other and have not yet reached a point where they will be able to sign concrete agreemen’s. Its difficult to say what results [the Aliyev-Kocharian meeting] will yield, but one has to hope that some progress will be made as a result of the meeting, he said. Speaking at a Friday news conference in Baku, Merzlyakov, said Baku and Yerevan continue to disagree on the future of the Lachin district that provides for the shortest overland link between Karabakh and Armenia proper. Meanwhile in Stepanakert, the chairman of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Affairs Vahram Atanesyan, said that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh would ultimately decided the countrys fate. I believe the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will solve the question of Karabakhs status and the fate of the liberated territories surrounding Karabakh, because only the people of Karabakh are empowered to do so, said Atanesyan. Sources in Baku reported that the US cochairman in the OSCE Minsk Group Mathew Bryza is expected to be visiting Baku from June 5 to June 8. The news was announced Tuesday by Jonathan Henick, head of the U.S. embassys public affairs section in Baku. He said Bryza plans to hold talks with Azerbaijani leadership on the current stage of the process for settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Bryza will also attend the 14-th international forum on Caspian Oil, Gas, Oil Processing and Oil Chemistry which will be in Baku from June 5 to June 8.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.