Oskanian to Meet with Guliyev in Prague

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian announced on Wednesday that he will meet with his Azeri counterpart later this month for talks–which should finally clarify whether Baku is ready to revive agreemen’s on Karabagh reached three years ago.

Oskanian said the meeting will take place in Prague on March 29 in the presence of the American–French–and Russian mediators leading the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He said he hopes Azeri Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliyev will officially state "from which point Azerbaijan is ready to continue negotiations."

Guliyev said last month that Baku reserves the right to restart the peace process "from scratch," again denying any major understandings reached by the Armenian and Azeri presidents in Paris and the Florida island of Key West in 2001. The statement came after Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s remarked that he is not in a hurry to embrace a compromise deal because he believes the Armenia’s are more interested in a quick solution to the Karabagh dispute than his oil-rich nation.

Oskanian again warned that Aliyev will have to negotiate only with the Karabagh Armenia’s if he finally decides to walk away from the agreemen’s reached by his late father and predecessor Heydar and Armenia’s president Robert Kocharian.

The announcement of the Prague meeting came at a news conference that followed Oskanian’s talks with the OSCE’s visiting chairman-in-office–Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy. Passy also met with Kocharian and Prime Minister Andranik Margarian as–well as the president of Mountainous Karabagh Republic Arkady Ghukasian. The Karabagh conflict was a major topic of the discussions during which the sides reportedly agreed that "there is no alternative but a peaceful settlement"

Speaking in Baku on Tuesday–Passy said that the OSCE will continue the active mediation but added that the responsibility is on Armenia and Azerbaijan to end the dispute "with mutual compromises."

"The OSCE is not capable of miracles and can’t impose a ready solution," he said. "History teaches us that with conflicts time always works against us. The later a solution is found–the more painful it may be for the people of the region."


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