Melkoumian Calls for Karabakh Role in Talks

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"In general–we should highly appraise the OSCE Istanbul Summit–because it demonstrated the possibility of toleration and compromise in finding solutions to such burning problems as the establishment of a new–more comprehensive system of European security," Foreign Minister of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Naira Melkoumian told reporters November 22.

According to her–the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen are currently faced with two serious problems–the settlement of which would promote the resumption of the negotiations for the Karabakh settlement.

Melkoumian said that the first problem seems to have been finally settled. "There will no longer be any speculations on the possible ways of settlement any more," she said.

The second problem facing the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen is coming up with the proper format of negotiations–Melkoumian said. "The time has come for the parties and the mediators to provide fair assessmen’s and descriptions of the settlement process without ambiguously leading the negotiations into a deadlock."

Melkoumian noted that the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen have received letters from the US president and Secretary of State stating that the Armenia’s of Karabakh should be involved in the negotiating process.

The minister stressed that the Karabakh settlement is a long process. She is surprised to hear anyone saying that the conflict can be settled quickly. "It depends on what we mean by the settlement of the conflict," said Melkoumian. "We can make quick decisions–but if we are interested in the establishment of a long-lasting peace–we must first step by step remove all the obstacles."

Melkoumian expressed confidence that the OSCE Minsk Group’s latest proposals will remain in force–and that major changes will not be made to them.

The foreign minister ruled out the possibility of Azerbaijan’s resumption of military operations–saying that "it would be disastrous to Azerbaijan." According to some calculations–the resumption of military operations will probably result in another million refugees in Azerbaijan–she said.


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