OSCE chairman’s remarks give no prospect of Karabakh settlement

OSCE chairman’s remarks give no prospect of Karabakh settlement – newspaper

Aravot, Yerevan
18 Mar 04

Text of Tigran Avetisyan’s report in Armenian newspaper Aravot on 18
March headlined “Is the NKR ignored?”

Today it may be reasonably said that the OSCE, which took the role of
key mediator in the Karabakh settlement, has finally and
unconditionally recognized only Armenia and Azerbaijan as the parties
to the conflict. Yesterday during a joint news conference of the OSCE
chairman-in-office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi, and
Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan, journalists asked the same
questions in different ways. The goal was to clarify how Mr Pasi sees
the role of the NKR in the negotiating process on its destiny. All was
in vain. Replying to all the cunning and not so cunning questions, the
OSCE chairman-in-office said almost the same thing: “The problem may
be settled only by the efforts of Armenia and Azerbaijan.” The only
exception in this “strategy” was that Solomon Pasi reported on his
meeting with the NKR president, Arkadiy Gukasyan, saying that he is
well informed about the fears of the Karabakh party.

As for the rest of Pasi’s remarks on the NKR conflict settlement, they
were as old as the conflict itself. Let us present some of them: “In
Azerbaijan as well as in Armenia I have seen a great desire and
readiness for a peaceful settlement,” “The OSCE cannot offer a ready
prescription to the parties to the conflict, it can only support
them,” etc.

As for the Armenian foreign minister, the latter was not original in
his answers either. They again touched on the decision of the new
leadership of Azerbaijan to start the negotiations from scratch and
Oskanyan again said that there had been definite agreements and if
Azerbaijan intended to start everything from a blank sheet, in that
case it should negotiate with the Karabakh party. Vardan Oskanyan
confirmed the information published in the Azerbaijani press that on
29 March he and his Azerbaijani counterpart would meet in Prague with
the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen. “At that time we shall try to
clarify once again from what point Azerbaijan intends to continue the
negotiations,” the Armenian foreign minister said. It seemed that in
trying to justify the naive and predictable answers of Solomon Pasi on
the format of the negotiations, Vardan Oskanyan said that in the end
there is truth in his words and “each of you can draw his own

Let us try to draw our own conclusion. Taking into account Arkadiy
Gukasyan’s statements immediately after his meeting with the OSCE
chairman-in-office that without the participation of Karabakh the
problem will never be settled, as well as taking into account that
today the key theme of conversation between Armenia and Azerbaijan has
turned to zero, in that case we can give up for lost the possibility
of an NKR settlement for a long time.