Anna Nazaryan

03.03.2009 16:30

The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Yuri Merzlyakov (Russia),
Bernard Fassier (France) and Matthew Bryza (USA) assess their meetings
in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh as rather informative
and substantial.

Bernard Fassier told reporters today that their meetings with
Presidents Serzh Sargsyan, Ilham Aliyev and Bako Sahakyan, Foreign
Ministers Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov, as well as
representatives of about 20 non-governmental organizations of Nagorno
Karabakh evidence that the negotiation process continues. He expressed
hope that the meeting between the Presidents of the two countries
will take place within the coming months.

Asked to what extent the negotiations are complete, and how effective
the activity of the Co-Chairs is, if Nagorno Karabakh is not included
in the process, Bernard Fassier noted that at a certain point it will
be necessary to involve all parties in the negotiations. He found it
hard to note concrete dates, saying it does not depend on them.

Russian Co-Chair Yuri Merzlyakov stated that the format of talks
is different today. According to him, the Minsk Group did not exist
in the current format before and no meetings were taking place on a
high level.

"When they started, we felt that the negotiation process was getting
greater impulses from=2 0those meetings than it would be if NKR also
participated. If you think Nagorno Karabakh could act as one of the
conflicting parties, the issue should be considered on a different
level," Yuri Merzlyakov noted.

Turning to the issue of Azerbaijani Armenians, US Co-Chair Mathew
Bryza said the issue of refugees is one of the most important
ones when solving any conflict. "The issue of return of refugees
is among the most important ones during any discussions on the
Karabakh settlement. In Stepanakert we met with representatives of
NGOs representing the interests of the refugees, and I think that
no matter what nationality they are, they have rights and needs and
their question should be discussed," he said.