Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on Wednesday told parliament that he is working with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen to outline a course of action for the Karabakh conflict settlement process, adding that he is willing to hold further talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.
“We are trying to outline with the co-chairs the ways we will work this year … We have an agreement that we can meet in the near future. We expressed our position that we are ready for negotiations at any time,” Mnatsakanyan told parliament.
The foreign minister, however, said Artsakh’s direct participation in the talks remains a priority for Yerevan.
“The issue of Artsakh’s participation in the peaceful settlement of the conflict remains on the agenda, and we have repeatedly explained the reasons. It is very important to have direct participation of an entity that has elected authorities—a political entity,” added Mnatsakanyan.
He said that Armenia is leading the negotiation process with Azerbaijan from its own positions, ensuring lawmakers that there is not scenario whereby Armenia is “dodging” opportunities to meet with Azerbaijan.
“I would like to emphasize that the key component for ensuring peace in the negotiation process is linked to the reduction of risks of tension, and Armenia has achieved some success in this regard,” said Mnatsakanyan, adding that the process of so-called preparing the society for peace was an important aspects of the talks.
The foreign minister also touched on Armenia’s relations with Turkey, which at this juncture are non-existent, saying that it posed a challenge for Yerevan.
“This is a very serious issue in our foreign policy agenda. The absence of these [Armenia-Turkey] relations today is a challenge for Armenia in broad terms and for Armenia’s security. We consider this issue as one of the most serious challenges of our national security. We need a more detailed calculation on how we should continue this process in the legal arena,” explained Mnatsakanyan.