US mediator urges Armenia, Azerbaijan to make compromises

US mediator urges Armenia, Azerbaijan to make compromises

Golos Armenii, Yerevan
27 Jul 04

The US mediator for the Nagornyy Karabakh problem, Steven Mann, has
said that the OSCE Minsk Group sees the conflict settlement only in
compromises and called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to be ready for
them. He stated that the Minsk Group supports the dialogue between the
foreign ministers and presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. At the
same time, the co-chairman added that if the conflict drags on for a
long time, the situation in Azerbaijan as well as in Armenia will
become more difficult, which is why the parties should start a
dialogue so that this does not happen. The following is the text of
Regnum news agency’s report by Armenian newspaper Golos Armenii on 27
July headlined “Baku and Yerevan should be ready for
compromises”. Subheadings have been inserted editorially:

An interview with the American co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group,
Steven Mann.

Emotions prevail here and there

Regnum correspondent Mr Mann, what was the purpose of the latest visit
to the region by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen?

Steven Mann That was a planned visit and its purpose was to bring
together the positions of the parties and to help find ways of
settling the Karabakh problem. This time we visited Yerevan as well as
Nagornyy Karabakh and Baku, where we informed the parties that the
Minsk Group will continue its activity and will support a dialogue
between the presidents and foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and
Armenia. The co-chairmen understand the situation of the two
countries’ governments and want to make their positions closer. But
unfortunately, emotions prevail here and there. The problem may not be
resolved when they are guided by emotions. As long as there are
conditions for continuing the talks, we, the diplomats, will do
everything possible to prevent a new tragedy.

Correspondent The position of the Minsk Group is taken negatively by
Azerbaijani society. Sometimes, you are even called “political
tourists”. Are you going to correct your activity?

Mann Harsh criticism is an ordinary thing for us politicians and it
does not disturb us. The point is that the talks are really difficult
and society expects a lot from us. But we are not Gods. The parties
themselves should come to a solution, our aim is to get any decision
from any of the conflicting parties. The success of the talks depends
on the parties’ readiness for compromises. The Armenian and
Azerbaijani leadership, not the mediators, are responsible for the
talks. Progress in the talks also depends on them. Along with it, a
peaceful settlement to the Karabakh conflict by means of negotiations
within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group meets the national
interests of the USA. I will make every effort to represent US
interests fully and I take my duty seriously. If the conflict drags on
for a long time, the situation in Azerbaijan as well as in Armenia
will become more difficult. The parties should start a dialogue so
that this does not happen.

The conflict can be settled only through compromises

Correspondent In Tbilisi you said that the USA supports the actions of
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in the South Ossetia
problem. Will you support Azerbaijan if it makes up its mind to
restore its territorial integrity?

Mann Every conflict has its peculiarities. The US position on the
Karabakh issue is unchangeable – the conflict should be settled
peacefully. Let us think soberly and make a compromise. The mutually
acceptable decision may be found only in compromises. One cannot have
success in any talks if he does not make compromises. The co-chairmen
see the settlement to the conflict only in compromises. Azerbaijan as
well as Armenia should be ready for compromises. A lasting peace can
be achieved in the region only in this way. The parties to the
conflict themselves have chosen the OSCE for its settlement and we are
trying to settle the conflict peacefully and will support the
decisions adopted by the parties.

Correspondent The Russian co-chairman, Yuriy Merzlyakov, said in Baku
that the UN Security Council resolutions on the Karabakh conflict were
adopted in another situation and today they may not be fulfilled. Do
you share such a viewpoint?

Mann You simply misunderstood his statement: at the press conference
in Baku, touching on the fulfilment of the four UN Security Council
resolutions, the Russian co-chair said that he does not think they are
obsolete. In our work we use all the options including resolutions.

Conflicting parties have the last say

Correspondent Do the co-chairmen regard Nagornyy Karabakh as a
participant in the negotiating process?

Mann Nagornyy Karabakh’s involvement does not depend on the OSCE Minsk
Group co-chairmen, it only depends on the conflicting parties. One of
the conflicting parties is against Nagornyy Karabakh’s participation
in the negotiating process. But I think that all the interested
parties should be involved in the talks. I think this will help
accelerate the process of finding ways to settle the conflict. But at
the same time, the parties to the conflict have the last say. They
should decide who will be involved in the negotiating processes.

Correspondent Does the Karabakh conflict have an impact on the energy
interests of the USA in this region?

Mann US policy in this region has a long-term nature and we are in
favour of stability. Of course, the USA is not interested in events
that may threaten st ability. Here the USA supports big energy
projects. The Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline is one of such projects. It is
significant for the whole region.

Correspondent Some time ago there was information in the press that
you allegedly suggested recognizing the independence of Nagornyy
Karabakh in exchange for three of the occupied Azerbaijani districts.

Mann Yes, there was really such information in the Armenian press. I
would like to say once again that all this information is not true and
is invented. I expressed my indignation in connection with this – I
said nothing concerning three, five or seven districts. I would like
to ask journalists to clarify my position before publishing anything
on my behalf.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress