Sarkisian Says Committed to Minsk Group Process

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Armenian President-Elect Serzh Sarkisian

BUCHAREST (Combined Sources)–Armenian President-Elect Serzh Sarkisian was in Bucharest Thursday where he reassured international mediators of Armenia’s commitment to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict peacefully, within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Sarkisian met with the personal representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzei Kaspryzk and the US, Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on the sidelines of NATO’s summit in the Romanian capital. Sarkisian reaffirmed his country’s support for solving the conflict on the basis of the document currently on the table but expressed concern over recent diplomatic steps by Azerbaijan to circumvent the Minsk Group. Baku’s violation of the cease-fire agreement in early March was also concerning, he told mediators.
The document, which spells out the basic principles of a Karabakh settlement, was formally submitted to Baku and Yerevan last November. It calls for a phased solution to the dispute that would delay agreement on the pivotal question of Karabakh’s status. The two sides have reportedly agreed on most of those principles, leading the mediators to express hope that the framework peace deal will be sealed in the coming months.
However, chances for the signing of such agreement appear to have diminished in recent weeks. Azerbaijan has seemingly hardened its position since the March 14 passage by the UN General Assembly of a resolution that upheld its territorial integrity and demanded an "unconditional" Armenian withdrawal from "occupied Azeri territories." Earlier this week Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian accused Baku of seeking to walk away from the Minsk Group plan.

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