OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Leave Yerevan For Baku


Noyan Tapan

M arch 3, 2009

YEREVAN, MARCH 3, NOYAN TAPAN. At the March 3 joint press conference
OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs characterized all past meetings both
in Baku and in Stepanakert and Yerevan as rich and subject. The
mediators reported that straight after the press conference they are
again leaving for Baku where they are meeting with the President and
Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan. The terms of a possible forthcoming
meeting between Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will be also
discussed in Baku.

"We express a hope that both countries’ Presidents will give a consent
to meet in the coming months. We are leaving for Baku with positive
feelings," Bernard Fassier stated. Meanwhile he did not render more
concrete the terms of the coming meeting. "We are going to present
the meeting dates to the Presidents and to give them a possibility
to choose a term convenient for them."

The problem of refugees took a special place at the press conference.

According to Matthew Bryza, the OSCE Minsk Group U.S. Co-chair,
the issue of return of refugees is a very important issue. It is of
very much significance as one of the conflict consequences: "Refugees
and displaced persons are a very important element in the process of
conflict settlement, and the issue of refugees’ return is touched upon
at any discussions of the Nagorno Karabakh problem. Irrespective of the
national belonging these people have rights, needs," M. Bryza stated.

As to meetings with Nagorno Karabakh community, M. Bryza mentioned
that the Co-chairs very attentively listened to the representatives
of Nagorno Karabakh NGOs and intelligentsia. "They are involved in
the process and we treat their opinion with respect," the American
diplomat stated. He emphasized that the approaches to the conflict
settlement should be acceptable for all sides and be based on the
three main principles of Helsinki act: non-use of force, territorial
integrity, self-determination right.

As to the possibility of involving Nagorno Karabakh in the negotiations
process, that is, the possibility of returning to the negotiations
format of 1997, Russian Co-chair Yuri Merzliakov said that the
negotiations process that started after 1997 and in which the Armenian
and Azeri Presidents were already involved, "receives more impulses
from these meetings than if Nagorno Karabakh again proposed its
position within the framework of MG when in general it hardly gave
anything." In his opinion, today the issue should be solved at another
level, that is, there should be Presidents’ consent on that problem.


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