By Armen Zakarian
In a press conference held on Wednesday in Yerevan, the International mediators of the OSCE’s Minsk Group announced that they would not bring any new proposals for the conflicting sides. They said that Armenia and Azerbaijan bearthe responsibility for reaching agreements and settlement.
The French, Russian and U.S. co-chairs reiterated that the main agreements are to be achieved by Armenia and Azerbaijan. Speaking about the possibility of participation of Nagorno-Karabakh in the peace negotiations, the mediators made clear that the conflicting parties themselves must address the issue.
The French co-chair said that the OSCE and its Minsk Group didn’t exhaust all resources to resolve the conflict. He hinted that it is rather conflicting sides that have exhausted their resources. He also defended the current format of the talks. “This is a good format of negotiations, although it has been criticized a lot. The format is fully acceptable for the Armenian president,” the French mediator said.
The Russian co-chair Yuri Merzlyakov rejected the criticism of the “Prague Process”, saying that the initiation of the Prague talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers would not necessarily mean that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan are less interested in resolving the conflict.
Last month the OSCE co-chairs held another round of negotiations in Prague between Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers trying to break a deadlock. The new “third-way” strategy of conflict resolution was apparently the main focus of the Prague meeting between Oskanian and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mamedyarov.
“The meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Warsaw made possible the Prague meetings between co-chairs and Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, “ said Merzlyakov.
The Russian co-chair also did not rule out that the next meeting between Kocharian and Aliyev could be held in September when leaders of CIS meet again.
Steven Mann, the U.S envoy to Minsk Group said that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was not a major risk for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. According to the US diplomat, the conflict is not an obstacle, since the private companies, which have started the project “hate risks”.