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Bryza: Elections do not hinder negotiations on Karabakh

“I see there is a political will to solve the question; philosophy laid in the basis of our proposals, is acceptable,” OSCE Minsk Group US co-Chair Matthew Bryza stated to Radio Liberty after his meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan.

Speaking on proposals’ details, he stressed that there are questions, connected with Kelbajar and Lachin, as well as conducting a referendum. Matthew Bryza confirmed that, according to OSCE MG co-chairs, Nagorno Karabakh people should solve the question of Karabakh’s status itself. “However, the question is who should be considered to be Karabakh people. There are people, who lived there in 1988 and who wish to participate in the referendum too,” Mr. Bryza stated. “All these questions should be processed as a part of single package.” “Principles, which are now on the negotiation table, are no agreement. They are just principles, proposals. Hence, an agreement is unavoidable, if there is no such yet,” he stressed.

Answering a question, whether there is a chance to reach an agreement within this year or whether the question will be postponed till 2009, Mr. Bryza said: “Of course, there is a chance. It would be favorable for presidents of both countries to appear at the elections with a settled problem. However, elections do not prevent from negotiations. Simply, the question is much easier to be solved, when political processes are not escalated.” At the same time, the US diplomat stressed that the OSCE MG is ready to act until parties seriously consider the talks: “We see that our friends in Armenia consider the question quite seriously.”

Mentioning situation with democracy in Armenia, Mr. Bryza said: “We hope that Armenia moves in a right direction. The US-Armenian relations will be the stronger; the Armenian democracy will be stronger. Armenia’s participation in the Millennium Challenge Program is the best evidence for the US to be sure that Armenia is moving forward on a democratic way. Democracy is a process.”

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