By Harry Tamrazian in Vienna
President Robert Kocharian and international mediators searching for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict signaled no imminent breakthrough in the decade-old negotiating process after a meeting in Vienna on Wednesday. Armenian officials indicated that the French, Russian and US co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group did not discuss their new peace proposals.
The 90-minute meeting was timed to coincide with Kocharian’s official visit to Austria.
“We agreed today that they will step up their efforts to settle the conflict,” the Armenian leader told reporters afterwards. “I can not announce any concrete results but can say that the whole process of negotiations has reached a point where we have a much better idea of existing problems, mutual concerns and are prepared to look for solutions.”
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said the meeting concentrated on preparations for the mediators’ visit to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh next month.
The group’s French co-chair, Philippe de Suremain, told RFE/RL last week that they will bring new, revised peace proposals based on agreements reached by the conflicting parties last year. But Oskanian indicated that no specific proposals were discussed in Vienna.
“We should wait until the co-chairs’ visit to the region. Only then will we know what course the process will follow,” he told RFE/RL.
The negotiating troika also shed little light on the course of their meeting with Kocharian. “I think we can just say it was a very good meeting,” said Rudolf Perina, the chief US negotiator. “We are working very actively on trying to find a solution and we hope a solution will come as soon as possible.”
Kocharian stressed during his latest foreign trip that Yerevan will continue to strive for international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s de facto independence from Azerbaijan. Speaking at a news conference in neighboring Slovakia on Tuesday, he noted that a Karabakh settlement could be modeled on the 1993 “civilized” break-up of Czechoslovakia.