STEPANEKERT—Karabakh must be allowed to return to the peace process at some point, as the fate of the people living there is being determined, the Russian Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group told reporters in Stepanakert after meeting with Artsakh President Bako Sahakian.
“I think the issue may be brought to the agenda after work on the basic principles is completed and it becomes clear when there is mutual understanding on where we are moving,” he said.
Igor Popov said that Nagorno Karabakh is already involved in the negotiation process. “Our visit to Stepanakert and the meeting with President Bako Sahakian actually means that Karabakh is in fact involved in the discussions.”
Speaking about the situation at the line of contact, Popov said, “Not everything is as good as we would like. Although the number of victims has decreased, every human life is a great loss.”
Commenting on Turkey’s role in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, US Co-Chair James Warlick said, “If Turkey wants to play a role, that role should be positive for all.”
The diplomat underlined that “Armenian-Turkish relations have no linkage to the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.”
Popov as well as Andrzej Kasprzyk, the head of an OSCE mission monitoring the ceasefire regime in the conflict zone, met on Wednesday with General Movses Hakobian, the commander of the Karabakh Armenian army. The Russian negotiator said before the meeting that it will focus on ways of preventing truce violations along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh, RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) reported.
In the meantime, James Warlick and Jacques Faure, the U.S. and French co-chairs, held a rare meeting with local civil security representatives. Among them was Gegham Baghdasarian, a veteran independent journalist heading the Stepanakert Press Club.
“As far as I understood, the negotiation process has been somewhat reinvigorated and the conflicting parties have expressed readiness to solve the problem,” Baghdasarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “The main message that we heard is that there seems to be mutual understanding and some progress can be made in the near future.”
The best way for resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the continuation of direct dialogue between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia and discussion of concrete proposals and attitudes on the final resolution of the conflict, according to the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar.
The U.S. as a member of the OSCE Minsk Group will continue its mediation efforts and will maintain its support to the parties in solving the conflict, the ambassador told journalists on Dec.18, Azeri media report.
“The meeting between presidents Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian in early November is a very good fact. All signs give us ground to say that this was a very good and constructive meeting,” the ambassador said.