YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vardan Oskanian participated in the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Council of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership–held on May 14.
On the same day–NATO and Russian foreign ministers approved a document–which will allow their heads of state and government to decide on the creation of the NATO-Russia Council where NATO member states and Russia will work as equal partners in areas of common interests.
Oskanian–in his statement–welcomed this recent development and stated that it will have a positive impact on the Caucasus–and also noted the significance of EAPC’s role in advocating and promoting regional cooperation on security matters. At the conclusion of the meeting the Chairman’s summary referred to this "important milestone toward the NATO Prague Summit which will mark a decisive step in the ongoing transformation of the alliance and its partnerships." The ministers underscored the success of the EAPC and Partnership for Peace–which has provided a solid basis on which to build in order to adapt to the changing international environment.
Also in Reykjavik–a meeting was held between Oskanian and Turkish Foreign Minister Cem. The first meeting of the two foreign ministers was held during the World Economic Forum in New York earlier this year. Issues regarding bilateral and regional cooperation and regional security–and the situation in the Caucasus after the September 11 events were discussed. The heads of the foreign policy departmen’s of the two countries also touched upon problems obstructing Armenian-Turkish relations and discussed possible ways of overcoming these obstacles.
Another meeting of Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanian–Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliyev and Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem was held the same day. A statement–which says that this is the first trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of these countries was adopted as a result of the meeting. The statement–in particular–says–"… the ministers have studied the possible ways of overcoming the existing problems of regional security and cooperation and stressed the possibility of the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts."
Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–said that similar meetings and discussions should be encouraged considering the problems of the region and common interests.
After the meeting–Cem announced that issues concerning the regional security and cooperation were discussed–taking into account the importance of peaceful regulation of conflicts.
Ismail Cem said that relations between Yerevan and Ankara are possible only after the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the territory of Azerbaijan.
Azeri sources said the meeting passed in a tense atmosphere. According to the Azeri Zerkalo daily–Armenia’s foreign minister refused to recognize the fact that Azerbaijani territories were occupied by the Armenian forces. According to the publication–the possibility of developing political and economic relations between Turkey and Armenia is anchored on the regulation of Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
In conclusion–ministers said the meeting was a positive step and arranged another meeting which will be held soon.