Oskanian Urges Azerbaijan to Demonstrate Courage and Political Will

YEREVAN (Armenian Public Radio)–Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said Thursday that “if Azerbaijan demonstrates courage and political will, it will be possible to reach serious progress in the conflict settlement process.”
Oskanian said that the only result of the mediators’ meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan was the arrangement about the forthcoming visit of the Co-Chairs.
The Foreign Minister confessed that no progress was reached in the negotiation process after the Saint Petersburg meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents.
Vartan Oskanian did not comment on the statement of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Miguel Angel Moratinos regarding the necessity to change the negotiation format. At the same time Oskanian said he was not sure Moratinos meant the necessity to change the OSCE Minsk Group. “We think the OSCE Minsk Group has not exhausted its potential,” Oskanian mentioned.
At the meeting with the parliamentary standing committees, Oskanian declined to forecast on the negotiation process.
“It’s hard to make predictions about the intensity of the negotiations on the Karabakh conflict settlement in 2008. Now we are in a stage, which is decisive since presidential elections are expected in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is important to see what kind of impact these will have; They may have no influence at all, if there are concrete perspectives of progress, but they can also stop the process. Therefore, it is difficult to predict whether 2008 will be an intensive phase of negotiations or not,” said Oskanian.
In response to a Deputy’s question, the Minister noted that no additional financial problems emerged in connection with the negotiation process. The Minister categorized the expenses into two groups: traveling to foreign countries and the Co-Chairs’ visits.

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