Putin Signals Continued Support for Karabakh Solution

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)-Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday confirmed Russia’s ongoing commitment to solving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.
We will "work in a bilateral format and in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group jointly with France and the United States" to find a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict" between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he said.
"Transcaucasia inherited many problems from the Soviet era. They demand attention from the international community and the political will from those immediately involved in the conflicts," said Putin, adding that Russia will proceed with ongoing efforts to find an acceptable solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement are scheduled to meet in Paris Monday where Bernard Fassier (France), Matthew Bryza (U.S.) and Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia) will discuss the Karabakh peace process and current proposals
Despite fresh signs that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will not be resolved before presidential elections due to be held in both countries next year, mediators are scheduled to visit Armenia and Azerbaijan Wednsday.
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian discussed the details of the upcoming trip with the French and Russian co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in Paris.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry of Armenia’said they also spoke about "substantive issues," which the two co-chairs and their U.S. counterpart, Matthew Bryza, will raise with the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents. No other details were reported.
It is not clear if the mediators still hope to get the parties to reach a framework peace accord on Karabakh in the coming weeks. President Robert Kocharian publicly stated last week that an agreement is not likely to occur before the start of the presidential races in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"My assessment of the current state of negotiating process is that we are unlikely to reach an agreement on the principles [of Karabakh peace] before the presidential elections," Kocharian said during a visit to Brussels. Kocharian, who is completing his final and second term in office, noted at the same that the two sides agree on many of those principles and can cut a peace deal after the 2008 polls.
Kocharian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliev pointedly declined to meet each other on the sidelines of a summit of former Soviet republics in Tajikistan earlier this month. The mediators had hoped that such a meeting would yield a breakthrough.
Azerbaijani Political Scientist Zafar Guliyev along with other Government officials Wednesday considered the settlement of the Karabakh Conflict to be in great danger as a result of the recent adoption of the Genocide resolution in the US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs. The recognition of the Armenian Genocide will serve as a blow to the Karabakh settlement process, said Guliyev.
Statemen’s that passage of the Armenian Genocide resolution in the U.S. Congress will hamper the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement are absolutely illogical and unfounded, said Vladimir Karapetian a representative of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia.


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