ANKARA: Gul Meets Azerbaijani, Armenian Counterparts

Zaman, Turkey
June 29 2004

Gul Meets Azerbaijani, Armenian Counterparts

At a tripartite meeting held yesterday between Turkish Foreign
Minister Abdullah Gul and his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts
Elmar Memmedyarov and Vartan Oskanyan, the Armenian side offered to
move the consultation process into a “regional initiative”.

“It is better not to limit these meetings to Karabagh,” said
Oskanyan. “We should also discuss economic and commercial issues. Let
Turkey remain at the helm. It connects the South Caucasus to Europe
and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). We must continue
these meetings. We should include Georgia in this process as well.”

Gul offered his support in return, “NATO and the European Union (EU)
seek a new vision for the South Caucasus. This must be backed up by
countries in the region.”

Upon this, Oskanyan said, “We should bring in new perspectives in
order to catch up with the developments around us.”

Gul responded, “Do not expect the border gate to be reopened at this

Ankara gave the message “to proceed, even if it is with small steps.”
Diplomatic sources evaluated the meeting as the most successful yet.
The sources report that the fourth round of the meetings would be
held in September in New York.