Armenia Opposes Change in Minsk Chairmanship

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)Armenia considers unacceptable any change in the decision of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe chairman-in-office regarding the appointment of France as co-chairman of the Minsk Group–Jirayr Libaridian–advisor to Levon Ter-Petrosyan said Friday.

A possible way out of this deadlock may be a decision on appointment of the third co-chairman–Libaridian added.

After Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in Office Flavio Cotti’s Dec. 30 decision appointing France co-chairman of the Minsk Group for Nagorno Karabakh–Azerbaijan has demanded that the decision be revised and France be replaced by the United States. Russia is a permanent co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group.

"We believe that a decision on the appointment of France was taken after the three parties to the conflict had agreed to this," Libaridian said.

Reminding that once Armenia had not objected to the three candidates for the co-chairmanshipUnited States–Germany and FranceLibaridian said that withdrawing the offer made to France could not be a solution to the problem. "It is impossible for Azerbaijan–which is a party to the conflict–appoint the co-chairman of the Minsk Group," he said.

Libaridian noted that the proposal by Denmark–the current OSCE chairman–to appoint France and the United States as co-chairmen might be a way out of the created impasse.

The issue of Azeri territorial integrity–which was supported by the majority of OSCE-member countries at the Lisbon Summit–is unacceptable for Armenia–Libaridian said–adding "International law does not give any preference to the principle of territorial integrity over the right of nations to self-determination. Cotti’s statement at the Lisbon Summit is not our document and we cannot accept it as a basis for further negotiations."

According to Libaridian–OSCE shows reluctance in solving the contradiction between these two principles. He said that the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs–Nicholas Bonsor–admitted that the Lisbon Summit was a failure at an international conference held in London last month. "The solution to the Karabakh conflict must not be imposed from outside–and it should be found by conflicting parties," Libaridian quoted Bonsor as saying.


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