HAROLD SAUNDERS: OFFICIAL NEGOTIATIONS NOT ENOUGH FOR REACHING PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT

Noyan Tapan
Mar 30 2006

YEREVAN, MARCH 30, NOYAN TAPAN. The American-Russian working group of
the Dartmouth Conference on Regional Conflicts presented the draft
of the framework agreement on settlement of Karabakh conflict at
the March 29 round table taken place in Yerevan. As Harold Saunders,
the American Co-Chair of the group mentioned, official negotiations
within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group framework are necessary
but not enough condition for reaching peace in such a difficult
conflict. According to him, the goal of the dialogue, that has been
led among the representatives of the public of Armenia, Azerbaijan
and Nagorno Karabakh, are not proposals of the final settlement, but
study of possible approaches towards starting a peaceful process. The
dialogue participants find that the peaceful process may start by
signing intermediate agreements.

For example, the sides may agree relating to not large territories
from where the armies will be moved out and where the peace-keeping
forces will be placed and where refugees will return. According to
Saunders, recognition of the so called temporary status of Nagorno
Karabakh by participants of the conflict will create a possibility for
representatives of not recognized republics are able to participate
in the negotiations with competence of a full participant. As Vitali
Naumkin, the Russian Co-Chair of the working group mentioned, the
proposed framework agreement is called to have a role of a bridge
between the incompatible package and phase variants of settlement of
the Karabakh problem. He emphasized the importance of participation of
the publics of all the sides in the peaceful settlement process. In
the opinion of sociologist Lyudmila Haroutiunian, the time for the
political solution of the conflict hasn't come yet. According to her,
the conflict isn't functional only for Armenians, and Azeris speak
about war and prepare for it. "Armenians' desire for living peacefully
must not be speculated by the international community, and it must not
meet Azerbaijan's desire to solve all the problems in its favour,"
Haroutiunian stated. In her opinion, it's still far to reach peace,
and Armenians must not be disarmed.