By Emil Danielyan
Visiting senior officials from the Council of Europe told President Robert Kocharian on Thursday that the continued stalemate over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not in Amenia’s interests and that it should therefore push hard for the conflict’s settlement.
“We expressed the opinion that maintaining the status quo is not the right option and that the time doesn’t work in favor of Armenia,” Ambassador Pietro Ago, an Italian diplomat leading a monitoring mission from the Council’s main decision-making body, said after talks with the Armenian leader. He said the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan should “actively search for a solution” to the conflict.
It was not clear whether the message from the organization’s member governments signalled their dissatisfaction with Yerevan’s position on the settlement of the bitter territorial dispute with Azerbaijan. Ago did not voice any direct criticism of the Armenian side at a news conference in Yerevan.
“The president responded that he is actively searching for a solution but that the time does not appear ripe for a solution fairly soon,” Ago said. He also quoted Kocharian as complaining that Azerbaijan has consistently rejected all “confidence-building measures” suggested by the Armenians.
Armenia and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic say Azerbaijan is to blame for the deadlock in the internationally sponsored peace process. They accuse Baku of scrapping far-reaching peace agreements reached by Kocharian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Heydar Aliev during their face-to-face talks last year.
Aliev and other Azerbaijani officials, however, deny that the two leaders agreed the key terms of a Karabakh peace deal at the time.