Kocharian Questions Bryza’s Optimism on Karabakh Conflict

YEREVAN (Yerkir)—Armenian President Robert Kocharian said in an interview with Mediamax that he was not aware of the source of optimism by the US Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza who said that Armenia and Azerbaijan “have registered considerable progress” in Karabakh conflict resolution process.
“I’m not aware of the source of the mediator’s optimism. The current state of the negotiation process and the famous statemen’s made by the Azeri side leave little opportunity for anticipating a positive outcome,” explained Kocharian.
In an interview with Azerbaijani news agency Trend, US deputy assistant secretary of state Mathew Bryza, who is also the American cochairman in the OSCE Minsk Group, said he will join his co-chairmen and partners – ambassador Bernard Fassier from France and ambassador Yuri Merzlyakov from Russia, to conduct the next round of consultations within the Minsk Group process.
"We are preparing for the meetings with the presidents next week in both Baku and Yerevan. This will be followed by presidents’ own meeting in June 9 in St. Petersburg, where we hope they will come very close to an agreement on basic principles of Nagorno-Karabakh settlement that we have been negotiating for. I will be in Baku on Tuesday and Wednesday and on Thursday I will visit Yerevan," he said.
Responding to a question about the framework of presidents’ meeting in St. Petersburg on June 9 and what can be expected from it, Mathew Bryza said," This meeting is going to take place within the framework of the Minsk group negotiations. This is one of the meetings that happen periodically. Last time they met in November and now they are going to meet again to narrow the remaining differences and talk about basic principles that the Minsk group co-chairmen have suggested to them. Hoping that if this meeting is good one in St. Petersburg and they can agree on the basic principles then this can provide formal framework for the peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia."
Bryza also said he does not think that Armenia’s parliamentary elections may have any effect on the negotiations process on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
"As the pertinent OSCE bodies and we have concluded these elections marked a step forward in terms of democratic processes in Armenia but still indicated the need for further progress in democratic reform. They are significant in terms of Armenia’s own internal political evolution but I do not think that these elections will have any effect on Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations,’ he said.
Asked whether he shared the optimism of international organizations that there can be path breaking developmen’s towards the resolution of the conflict over this summer Bryza said he stands by his own optimistic statement.
"I was quoted in many Azerbaijani and Armenian publications that I am optimistic with the current status of negotiations. There is a chance that if this meeting in St. Petersburg goes well, then potentially we can see presidents agreeing on the basic principles,’ he said.


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