YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"As one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen–France should specify the aspects in which it can be most useful in the Karabakh settlement," Head of the French delegation–Chief Advisor to the French Foreign Minister–Director of the Analysis and Forecasts Center Michel Fouche said September 8 at a news conference on the results of the French delegation’s visit to Yerevan.
He stressed that the OSCE Minsk Group’s job is to facilitate the negotiating process–but not impose in the parties’ decision-making process. "The Minsk Group must create a favorable atmosphere that can be transformed into certain guarantees given simultaneously with the parties’ decision," Fouche said.
According to him–the decision must meet the interests of the conflicting parties. "I do not think that it is the Minsk Group that is to decide who will sit at the negotiating table the day the negotiating process will be resumed. It is very important that roles and responsibility be distinguished," Fouche said.
The French diplomat stated that one of the chief purposes of his country is the resolution of 20th-century problems. "We should turn our eyes on the future and try to enter the new 21st century without old problems," he said. According to him–France’s position is in that no problem can remain unsettled for long.
"The most important thing here is a compromise which–of course–should be preceded by political will. The European experience shows that the longer a conflict remains unsettled–the more difficult it is to find a solution to the problem. Therefore–we believe in compromises," the French diplomat said. In this aspect Fouche attached great importance to the summit talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan–pointing out that "the process should still be continued and developed."
Fouche reported that French Foreign Minister Juber Wedrin intends to visit the three Transcaucasian states. According to him–the French foreign minister instructed him to find out
Armenia’s position on the political problems of the region. The French delegation held meetings with Armenian President Robert Kocharian–Prime Minister Vazgen Sargssian–Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly Karen Demirchian–and officials from the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Before leaving Armenia–the delegation was also scheduled to hold a meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian.
Michel Fouche pointed out the importance of and need for strengthening and developing Armenia’s relations with different European structures.