‘Window Of Opportunity’ Sounds Like Obvious Obligation

‘WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITIES’ SOUNDS LIKE OBVIOUS OBLIGATION
By Aghavni Harutyunian

AZG Armenian Daily
08/06/2006

Kocharian and Aliyev Are Likely to Meet in Late 2006

The June 4-5 meeting between Armenian president Robert Kocharian and
his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev doesn’t seem to be satisfactory for
both sides. Vartan Oskanian, RA foreign minister, stated yesterday
that the sides failed to come to terms over the same issue that
remained unsettled in Rambouillet. Foreign minister of Azerbaijan
voiced the same opinion about the Bucharest meeting. He said that
the sides didn’t achieve big progress in the course of the Bucharest
negotiations. At the same time, Mamediarov said that the sides agreed
to continue the negotiation process and hold the next meeting at the
level of the foreign ministers, if needed.

Meanwhile, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs pointed out in the
statement made on the June 6 Bucharest meeting that “the peaceful
settlement is still actual and achievable, while 2006 is “a window”
for securing progress.” The co-chairs are sure that the settled
principles they defined for the sides in conflict “secure mutually
acceptable settlement grounds and they express regret that the sides
haven’t come to agreement around those principles, yet.”

As for the activities of the Minsk Group co-chairs, according to
RFE/RL, Steven Mann stated that USA will represent another diplomat to
settle the Nagorno Karabakh conflict by the rotation principle. Mann
will occupy the position of the US Deputy State Secretary for the
Central and the South Asian states. The change of the co-chair may
have certain impact on the negotiations from the aspect of time,
as the new co-chair will have to study the process. Bedsides, Russia
doesn’t support the rotation of the co-chair.

The Azeri mass media informed that Burdikin, temporary representative
of RF Affairs in Azerbaijan, said that Steven Mann realizes the
peculiarities of two countries and the change of the co-chair in the
course of the president’s meeting “is not a very good step.”

On the other hand, taking into account not very satisfactory evaluation
of the Bucharest meeting, the sides state that another Kocharian-Aliyev
meeting will be held in late 2006. Both Novruz Mamedov, head of
Foreign Relations Department at Azeri President’s Staff, and Victor
Soghomonian, press secretary of RA president, expressed this opinion.

According to PanArmenian.net Victor Soghomonian stated that the OSCE
Minsk Group co-chairs will meet and give instructions to the foreign
ministers, who will prepare the meeting of the presidents. As for
the probability of signing any agreement during the third meeting
of the presidents in late 2006, none of the sides sees such an
opportunity. Meanwhile Matthew Bryza, deputy US State Secretary for
Europe and Eurasia, stated that the sides in conflict have quite
a trustworthy document for settlement at their disposal, while USA
urges presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to take more efforts to
settle the conflict this year, in the course of “The Oil and Gas of
the Caspian Basin” exhibition in Baku.

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