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By Harry Tamrazian in Prague
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian echoed on Thursday the international community’s optimism about prospects for the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, citing an unusually positive statement by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The statement adopted on Tuesday by the foreign ministers of the OSCE member states, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, confirmed that the conflicting parties have made major headway towards a peaceful settlement during their so-called “Prague process” of negotiations. “We believe that the Parties are now poised to make the transition from negotiation to decision and that the are serious benefits within reach for all,” it said.

“We encourage the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to use the current promising window of opportunity in order to attain within the coming year significant achievements in the settlement of the conflict,” the statement added, heightening expectations from the upcoming meeting of Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian.

Speaking to RFE/RL from Brussels, Oskanian stressed the fact that it was the first time that the OSCE’s governing Ministerial Council expressed its satisfaction with the peace process. He noted that its previous statements on Karabakh usually regretted the lack of progress in the process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.

Oskanian said he and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov approved the text of the brief statement beforehand, during their weekend “informal” meeting in Slovenia. The meeting took place in the presence of the Minsk Group’s U.S., Russian and French co-chairs.
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