Bryza Meets Sahakian on Caucasus Tour

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian met Friday with the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew Bryza, in what appears to be the first leg of a regional tour.

The two discussed the current situation in the region, including Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Yerevan, and recent developmen’s in the Nagorno-Karabakh resolution process, which has seen increased diplomatic activity in recent days with Turkey pursuing a role as mediator in the conflict. Karabakh’s Foreign Minister, Georgy Petrosian was also at the meeting.

Noting that the conflict is between Karabakh and Azerbaijan, Sahakian reiterated that Karabakh must be recognized as a direct participant in the negotiation process.

“Official Stepanakert continues to advocate for the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh-Azerbaijani conflict with the direct participation of Karabakh as a full party to the negotiation process,” Sahakian told Bryza, reiterating the imperative to resolve the conflict through peaceful means and direct negotiations.

Sahakian told Bryza that the Minsk Group has not exhausted its potential and it is premature to talk about changing the negotiation format.

Bryza is the US co-chairman of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international format that has been advancing a negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Bryza was also in Yerevan Friday, according to Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan, who said Bryza is expected to hold a meeting with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in the coming days. The US diplomat is also scheduled to visit Baku and Tbilisi.

No further details of Bryza’s visit to Yerevan are reported yet. According to Azerbaijani media reports, during his upcoming meetings in all three capitals Bryza will discuss the current situation in the South Caucasus against the backdrop of the Russian-Georgian war, as well as the process of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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