Armenia’s Foreign Minister Meets with Minsk Group Co-Chairs

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The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States arrived in Armenia and were greeted by Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian, who posted on Twitter.

Mnatsakanian reaffirmed Armenia’s position on the negotiation process by emphasizing that Armenia is committed to an exclusively peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE MG co-chairmanship. Joining the diplomats was Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.

Ahead of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairmen’s visit, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian on Tuesday reiterated the government’s position to include Artsakh in the negotiation process, saying that “if Azerbaijan wants progress, it should directly negotiate with Stepanakert.”

Kocharian said no progress has been in the Karabakh conflict resolution process because of Azerbaijan’s damaging position.

“They want everything or nothing, everything or war. Therefore, speaking about progress is impossible,” Kocharian told reporters at the National Assembly.

He stressed the need to respect the 1994 ceasefire agreement, where Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh were the main negotiating parties, and which Armenia joined at the last moment.

“The Co-Chairs are well aware that violation of this agreement means resumption of military actions,” Kocharian said.

The deputy minister said that progress is impossible, when there is lack of trust between parties and one of the parties fails to respect previously signed agreements.

Kocharian stressed that Armenia can negotiate on its own behalf and can’t negotiate instead of Artsakh, because the pressing majority of issues on the negotiating table centers around Artsakh, specifically as it relates to its status and territorial integrity.

He added that an impasse on the negotiation process increases the likelihood of military actions, therefore, when it comes to preventing the threat of war, Armenia should definitely participate. However, he said, Armenia can never undertake to speak on issues that should be decided by the Artsakh authorities.

“Oil and gas are Azerbaijan’s trump card, while Armenia’s potential lies in the mental capacity and the creative potential of the people,” said Kocharian who added that the democratic processes taking place in the two Armenian states cannot but strengthen their position in the negotiations.

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