2 May 06

Yerevan, 2 May: "I have to say with regret that the Karabakh issue is
becoming part of the Iranian dossier," the leader of the opposition
Armenian Liberal Progressive Party [ALPP], Ovanes Ovanesyan, said at
the Ayli discussion club today, commenting on US co-chairman of the
OSCE Minsk Group Steven Mann's statement that the year 2006 will see
a breakthrough in the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict.

The USA for the first time holds negotiations on the settlement of
the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict unilaterally, and the Iranian dossier
gave a significant impetus to the efforts of the US State Department,
Ovanesyan said. The ALPP leader believes that the Islamic Republic
of Iran is posing a serious threat to the entire world.

At the same time, he said that linking the Iranian dossier with
the Karabakh problem was unfavourable for Armenia because it would
lead to the strengthening of Baku's positions. "The USA intends to
organize energy transit from Central Asia via Azerbaijan, which is why
[Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev will be given the status of a
global politician," Ovanesyan said.

Asked by an Arminfo correspondent whether this meant suspension of
the West's support for democratization in Azerbaijan, Ovanesyan said:
"The USA will be strengthening Azerbaijan's positions in the world
and at the same time, will continue funding democracy in Azerbaijan -
the two do not contradict each other."

The opposition leader said that the Armenian authorities should make
every effort "to prevent the Karabakh problem from becoming part of
the Iranian dossier". He accused Yerevan of inaction but did not
specify what measures the ALPP suggested to prevent "the Karabakh
problem from becoming part of the Iranian dossier".