Public Radio, Armenia
Dec 1 2006

Vartan Oskanian: The talks are not in a deadlock, the window of
opportunity is open
01.12.2006 17:35

Tatul Hakobyan

Only two days have passed after the meeting of Presidents Robert
Kocharyan and Ilham Aliyev, and in this period there have been
diverse analyses and statements regarding the negotiations on the
Karabakh issue. Azerbaijan is making optimistic statements on the
highest level, asserting that the parties are close to the settlement
of the conflict. What is the position of the Armenian side? In
response to the question, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian
said, `the Minsk meeting was positive. It was held in a rather
constructive atmosphere. The Presidents mainly focused on the
questions, which remain unsettled. Despite the fact that the positive
course of the talks is obvious, it would not be correct to say that
the Presidents agreed upon the disputable questions. There still
remain discrepancies on some principles. Nevertheless, the talks are
not in a deadlock. We did not have the confidence after the previous
meetings, but this time we can assert that the negotiations are not
in a deadlock. The Presidents will soon give instructions to the
Foreign Ministers to continue the talks and there will be precise
instructions on which issues to focus and what kind of approach to
take in order to register further progress in the negotiation
The Foreign Minister noted that there is a 2.5-page document on the
bargaining table. Azerbaijan's position is the same, Armenia's
position has not changed either. Baku insists on territorial
integrity, while Yerevan adheres to the right of self-determination
of peoples. `There is only one way of combining these two seemingly
contradicting principles, and this way is the referendum. And since
the idea of referendum has found expression in the document on the
table, I can say that we see the perspective that these two
principles can be combined. Thus, NKR people should be given the
chance to determine which one they prefer: the territorial integrity
of Azerbaijan or the self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh.'
Turning to the contemporary topic of open windows, Vartan Oskanian
said, `Even if the window is closed, it can always be opened.
Progress can always be achieved under the conditions of existence of
political will. I think the window is open.'
Minister Oskanian turned also to the topic of murders of Armenians in
Russia, characterizing these as painful phenomena.
What kind of shifts will be registered in Armenia's foreign policy
after the parliamentary elections in 2007 and the presidential ones
in 2008? Vartan Oskanian does not think there will be abrupt changes
in the foreign policy priorities.