By Armen Zakarian in Strasbourg, Hrant Alexanian in Stepanakert and Harry Tamrazian in Prague
In an exclusive interview to RFE/RL in Strasbourg on Friday, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said that during a visit to the region last week, the OSCE co-chairs tried to revitalize the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process within the framework of the Paris agreements. However, Oskanian disagreed that US, Russian and French co-chairmen presented new proposals when they met Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders in Baku, Stepanakert and Yerevan.
According to Oskanian, after official Baku rejected the Paris agreements and proposed their own revisions to the peace plan outlined during Paris and Key West talks, international mediators have tried to find out how the Armenian side would react to the Azerbaijani proposals. Oskanian declined to say whether Yerevan has accepted or turned down revisions to the OSCE peace proposals made by Azerbaijan. The settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a continuing process and it is impossible to complete it in a single phase, the minister said. "I am convinced that Co-chairs will continue their efforts and would visit the region again and there is no need to make immediate comments on whether proposals are acceptable or not."
Commenting on the Armenia's official position on the latest peace mission of the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs, Oskanian said that as long as Paris principles are intact and developments in the negotiating process are building around those principles, Armenia is ready to continue discussions. Armenia would not accept proposals which run counter to Paris agreements, said Vartan Oskanian.
On Friday Armenian President Robert Kocharian visited Stepanakert. According to diplomatic sources in Stepanakert, President Kocharian will discuss latest peace initiative of OSCE Minsk group mediators with Karabakh authorities.
On Friday Azerbaijan criticized new ideas of solving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict presented by international mediators. A top aid of Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev, Novruz Mamedov described the latest proposals of US, Russian and French co-chairs as "unacceptable" for Baku. "We don't consider these proposals new... I don't see much difference for Azerbaijan in the recent proposals. They are unacceptable," said Aliyev's adviser on foreign policy issues Novruz Mamedov.
Last week OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, US special envoy for Nagorno-Karabakh talks Rudolf Perina, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov and French mediator Phillipe Suremain presented what they called new ideas on how to settle Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during their visit to the region. In a statement issued last Thursday in Yerevan, international mediators warned that the situation of "No war, no peace" will keep Armenia and Azerbaijan out of the positive integrating processes that are now taking place in the world.