Nalbandian, Bryza Meet; Discuss Karabakh,Turkish-Armenian Ties

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza met with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbadnian Saturday as part of a regional tour focused largely on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process.

During the meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bryza, Nalbandian gave a positive evaluation to the Turkish president’s visit to Armenia, describing it as a good stimulus to starting a ‘serious dialogue’.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Nalbandian also welcomed Turkey’s steps aimed at building confidence and developing cooperation in the region, through its proposed Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform.

The two also discussed Nalbandian’s meetings in Tbilisi with Georgia’s top leadership on Friday.

Bryza’s talks with Nalbandian followed similar talks in Stepanakert on Friday with Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakian.

In a press conference following the meeting, Bryza described his talks with Sahakian as "very constructive" and "very interesting.”

"I had a chance to hear Karabakh’s opinion on the current situation in the region, prospects for Karabakh conflict settlement and other issues," Bryza said.

He said that his visit was motivated by his wish to know Nagorno-Karabakh and its people better. "Yes, the basic principles are important, and we have to implement them, but we also discussed how the relationship between all people and nations that play a role in the [conflict] settlement could be improved," he added.

Bryza said that during the meeting a candid willingness to move in a new direction was expressed, and options for stepping up relations were discussed.

Bryza also said that it is necessary to continue work on achieving the basic principles for settling the Karabakh conflict despite the fact that the relations between Armenian and Turkey are changing.

"Turkey’s initiative is very constructive,” he said. "I do not want Baku to think that the situation has changed so much that any action needs to be taken that could destroy the improving climate."

“It is good that the relations between Armenia and Turkey are improving because I think that such openness is making the climate healthier and, therefore, Armenia can be more open in the talks. I may be wrong but I hope so," Bryza added.

Bryza is set to arrive in Baku on Wednesday for similar talks with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev who is currently in Moscow meeting with Russian President Dmitiri Medvedev.

Meanwhile, the Azeri Press Agency is reporting that the U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Anne Derse, told reporters in Baku on Monday that the opportune time to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has arrived.

“The Nagorno Karabakh conflict should be solved taking into account Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” Derse said. “The process of the settlement should be peaceful. We consider that OSCE Minsk Group will continue its work within the present format."

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