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By Karine Kalantarian
A visiting top leader of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has urged the parties to the Karabakh conflict to “take the important moment to achieve progress in the negotiations.”

OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said during his meeting with his Armenian counterpart Vartan Oskanian in Yerevan on Tuesday that there are sufficient grounds for the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Robert Kocharian and Ilham Aliev, to achieve progress during their meeting in Saint-Petersburg on June 9.

The OSCE official said the dialogue of the two heads of state contributes to the speediest resolution of the problem.

“We will do everything for a speedy solution to be found,” the OSCE Chairman-in-Office said. “The parties today are close to a settlement.”

Expanding on his statement, the official said the sides are showing political will to reach a solution.

“It is better to be optimistic. The parties to the conflict should be encouraged with optimism, one shouldn’t make false predictions,” Moratinos emphasized.

Answering a Spanish journalist’s question about disputable points on which the sides have not yet reached agreement, Oskanian said, “[Among them is] first of all the issue of the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is impossible to speak about any other matter without it… We should be able to focus on the main issue, and that is Nagorno-Karabakh’s status.”

Also on Tuesday the OSCE Chairman-in-Office had a brief meeting with Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arkady Ghukasian in Yerevan.

“I agree that the main issue is the status of Nagorno-Karabakh,” Ghukasian told RFE/RL after the meeting. “I cannot imagine what optimism we can speak about unless we come to agreement on this issue.”

Unlike the OSCE official, Ghukasian does not pin great hopes on the upcoming Kocharian-Aliev meeting.

“I don’t think this meeting can have any significant importance. I think it will be a routine meeting,” he said, but added. “I don’t think there can be a limit [of routine meetings], considering that negotiations have no alternative.”
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