Karabakh People to Determine Status, Says Bryza

Karabakh People to Determine Status, Says Bryza

By Asbarez Staff on Aug 7th, 2009

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) – Washington’s top Nagorno-Karabakh negotiator hinted
Friday the OSCE Minsk Group continues to uphold the Karabakh
Armenians’ right to determine their status in a referendum.

`What I can not tell you today is when the final legal status of
Nagorno-Karabakh will be determined through a vote,’ said the US Minsk
Group Co-chair Matthew Bryza said.

`But you did not hear me say that Nagorno-Karabakh will be returned to
Azerbaijan. I never said that. I just said that the interim status
will be determined now and the final legal status will be determined
by the people of Karabakh,’ added Bryza.

The US official insisted Friday that Armenia and Azerbaijan remain
`very close’ to ending their long-running territorial dispute as he
began a fresh tour of the region aimed at keeping up the momentum in
the peace process.

Bryza met President Serzh Sarkisian to discuss ways of overcoming the
conflicting parties’ remaining disagreements over a framework peace
accord drafted by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the Minsk
Group. Sarkisian’s office released no details of the meeting.

Sarkisian and his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, apparently failed
to bridge their differences during their most recent talks held in
Moscow on July 17-18. The mediators hope that the two leaders will
achieve a breakthrough at their next meeting due in October.

`There was no formal agreement [at Moscow,] but they are very close,’
Bryza said, speaking at a youth forum held in the Armenian resort town
of Tsaghkadzor later in the day. He expressed hope that `we will be at
the point of this agreement on the last few elements of the basic
principles that remain not yet agreed’ after the co-chairs visit the
conflict zone in late September.

Bryza and the two other Minsk Group co-chairs met in Krakow, Poland
late last month to prepare what they call an `updated version’ of
their proposed basic principles of a Karabakh settlement. The
U.S. official said their consultations were based `what the presidents
discussed in Moscow and what they told us co-chairs after their