By Armen Dulian
A senior American diplomat believes there is still an opportunity for Armenia and Azerbaijan to make a breakthrough in the Karabakh settlement process.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried said in Yerevan on Thursday that he is convinced that negotiations can be continued despite the lack of progress at the latest round of high-level talks at Rambouillet.
“Both governments express their countries’ interests and take the Karabakh settlement process seriously,” Fried said, sharing with the media his impressions of the meetings with officials in Baku and Yerevan.
On the last leg of his regional tour in the Armenian capital, Daniel Fried met with Armenia’s President Robert Kocharian, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian.
Fried, who had visited Azerbaijan and Georgia, said the goal of his trip was to study the situation in the region after the Rambouillet meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as to discuss a number of issues pertaining to the future of the region, including energy security.
OSCE Minsk Group Cochairman from the United States Steven Mann, who accompanied the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in his tour, said: “It is a difficult fact that we did not move ahead at Rambouillet. But the two countries’ presidents are willing to move forward.”
On Wednesday, Fried and Mann had dinner with a dozen politicians representing Armenia’s pro-government and opposition forces.
Fried said the U.S. Government is also interested in the democratic situation in Armenia.
The American diplomats left Yerevan for Istanbul later on Thursday to attend a meeting of the Minsk Group cochairmen due to be held there.