By Emil Danielyan
The Armenian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dismissed a newspaper report that quoted one of its senior officials as saying that President Robert Kocharian will likely visit Washington soon for talks with U.S. President George W. Bush.
“A visit by the president of Armenia to Washington is not planned,” the ministry spokesman, Hamlet Gasparian, said in a statement.
In an interview posted on its English-language website on Monday, the Turkish daily “Zaman” quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian as saying that Kocharian is likely to be “another guest” at the White House shortly following Friday’s meeting between Bush and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev.
Gasparian suggested that the remarks attributed to Kirakosian were the result of a “partial distortion of his words or their translation.” The Armenian diplomat spoke about the possibility of Kocharian’s trip to the U.S. capital only in “general” terms, he said.
Bush’s unexpected invitation to Aliev is attributed by observers to mounting international tensions over Iran’s controversial nuclear program and U.S. efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict this year. Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian implied earlier that the White House sees no need for similar talks with Kocharian because Armenia, unlike Azerbaijan, has largely accepted international mediators’ existing peace proposals on Karabakh.