Arkady Ghukasian Controls Situation


16 July 2004

Co-Chairs State in Stepanakert

OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs arrived in Stepanakert on July 13. After a
break of six months this visit could hardly be a new step for the
settlement of the problem. The fact that the Co-Chairs met with NGO
representatives as well was the news about this visit.

After the meeting with Ashot Ghulian, NKR Foreign Minister, the
Co-Chairs met with NGO representatives. Hery Jackolin, French
Co-Chair, stated that the probability of a war is bigger, unless the
problem of the occupied territories exists.

Touching upon “New Neighbours” program, he said that if Armenia and
Azerbaijan fail to find the mutually acceptable settlement, they
wouldnâ=80=99t be included in that program. Minsk Group doesn’t have
the power to settle the conflict, so their goal is to contribute to
achieving the settlement that will be in the interests of both
sides. According to him, this can be achieved as a resultof mutual
concessions. The observation made by the head of NKR Refugee
Committee, that said that the status of the Armenians fled from
Azerbaijan and dwelling in NKR is always forgotten.

The Co-Chairs met with NKR President Arkady Ghukasian. During the
press conference after the meeting with the president the Co- Chairs
expressed satisfaction, emphasizing that Arkady Ghukasian controls the
situation verywell and the discussion with him was very fruitful. The
Co-Chairs said that Armenia and Azerbaijan becoming CE members have
undertaken certain commitments and the interest of the European
countries can be considered only within these frameworks. They said
that the EU has no special mission in the settlement issue, except
assisting Armenia and Azerbaijan, unless they miss the “New Neighbors”
program. As for the OSCE, the Minsk Group was founded under its
support and, naturally, it is interested in the settlement.

The journalist asked Stiven Mann about the reason of his appointment
as Co-Chair. He said that though he was engaged in the Caspian issues,
it doesn’t mean that the U.S. emphasizes the importance of oil factor
in the context of the settlement. Besides, he worked as a diplomat in
the USSR and Armenia and this experience conditioned his appointment
as a Co- Chair. The Co- Chairs said that there are no separate
American, Russian and French position and they act unanimously and all
the ideas are achieved by them all.

Yuri Merzliakov answered the question about NKR’s participation in the
negotiation process that there is a point in the OSCE decision that
allows the parties that ave signed the cease-fire agreement to
participate in the negotiations. On this ground NKR participated in
the negotiations till1997.The fact that NKR was left aside from the
negotiation process is not the fault of the Minsk group.

BY Kim Gabrielian, Stepanakert