YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–President Robert Kocharian met with US Congressman James Rogan and Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian of California on September 4 to discuss US-Armenian relations and the peace process in the region.
James Rogan is a member of the Congressional Caucus for Armenian Issues as well as the Commissions for Trade and Judicial Issues. The congressman’said it was his first visit to Armenia and so he was going to examine the current situation in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
The sides reportedly discussed the latest developmen’s in the Karabakh peace process. The problem can be settled by means of negotiations only–Kocharian stressed. He also emphasized the need for finding compromise options acceptable to all parties to the conflict.
Rogan said he was making efforts in Congress to contribute to peace and broader economic cooperation in the region.
President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Arkady Ghoukassian met September 6 with a Rogan and Kaloogian-led delegation–which arrived in Karabakh on a short fact-finding visit–the Presidential Press-Service reported.
Ghoukassian stressed that he attaches great importance to this visit in the aspect of maintaining and developing relations with the US Congress. According to the Karabakh president–the US Congress has a positive attitude towards Karabakh–an undoubtedly positive precedent for the country.
James Rogan underlined that the USA is ready to render assistance to all people that struggle for democracy and freedom.
The Karabakh president pointed out that it is very important for a struggling people to recognize that they are not alone in their struggle–and that others share and understand its aspirations.
"The world came to understand the point of our struggle–its final goal being peace and stability. And in this main point we hold similar opinions," President Ghoukassian said. Attempts to put Karabakh back under Azerbaijan’s authority will only lead to a new war. That is why real assessmen’s are necessary in order to find a solution to the Karabakh problem.
James Rogan–agreeing with the president’s opinion–pointed out that peace can be established–but if slavery remains it cannot be called peace. He said he had discussed the Karabakh conflict with different political figures. A conclusion can be drawn from these discussions that there is a real possibility for establishing stable peace in the region–and the latest meetings of the Armenian and Azeri presidents are also hope-inspiring.
Pointing out the importance of the meetings of the Armenian and Azeri presidents–Robert Kocharian and Haydar Aliyev–Ghoukassian stressed that the negotiations are aimed at creating a necessary atmosphere and preparing the ground for the resumption of the negotiating process.
The conflict is impossible to settle nor a document can be signed without Karabakh’s immediate participation.
President Ghoukassian also suggested that Karabakh is able to create a state with a stable political system and economy–but the international community must be convinced that the people of Karabakh are firm in their aspiration to build up a democratic state.
"We are striving to become open to the world," said Ghoukassian. "And although we are still far from high democratic standards–the creation of a democratic state would be a great victory for us."
The US delegation also held meetings with Speaker of the Karabakh Parliament Oleg Yesayan–Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian–Defense Minister Seiran Ohanian.
Later that day the delegation visited the Ghazanchetsots Church in Shoushi.
"Armenian problems are not the problems of Armenia alone–these are moral problems–which are of interest to the entire world," Rogan told journalists Monday after completing his visit to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
"The firmness of the Armenian people is amazing. Now I even more highly appreciate the efforts of Armenian leaders to resolve the Karabakh conflict. I admire the courage–sense of freedom and commitment of the people of Karabakh," the congressman’said.
As for the economy–Rogan described Armenia as a country rich in human resources.
"There are many Armenia’s all over the world–and I am optimistic about the future of your people."
At the same time–he regretted Armenia’s lack of capital investmen’s and markets and stressed the need for structural reforms.
After his meetings with businessmen the congressman arrived at the conclusion that the biggest impediment to investmen’s is the presence of bureaucracy in the country.
Another member of the delegation–legislator from California Howard Kaloogian said that there are many Armenia’s in the US who are willing to help Armenia but they have no idea of how exactly they can do it.