04, 2008

RA President-elect Serzh Sargsyan led government delegation arrived in Bucharest for participation in the NATO summit

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RA President-elect Serzh Sargsyan led government delegation arrived in Bucharest for participation in the NATO summit.

In the morning, Serzh Sargsyan met with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzik at Novotel Hotel.

During the meeting, a general estimation was given to the current status of the Karabakh peace process. The co-chairs have briefed the Prime Minister on the outcome of yesterday's meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Serzh Sargsyan expressed concern about Azerbaijan's latest diplomatic moves and the incidents on the contact line between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh and reiterated Armenia's adherence to settling the conflict by peaceful means - in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group and on the basis of the document under negotiation. The parties have also spoken about an eventual continuation of the settlement process.

Interviewed by journalists after the meeting, RA President-elect, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan said he will be able to formulate more accurate views about the process if he happens to meet with the other negotiating side. According to him, at least the co-chairs are optimistic and their optimism seems to have a reason. Asked about the possible timing of an eventual meeting with the President of Azerbaijan, Serzh Sargsyan said to have already stated his predisposition to such a meeting in the frame of an international conference should the other side wish so.

Following the meeting, OSCE MG co-chair Matthew Bryza shared his impressions with journalists: "We have known the President-elect of Armenia for a long time now and we feel to be able to continue the talks with him in future. It is obvious that the negotiations are to be continued. What matters most is that the two presidents might meet and get in touch after the inauguration of the Armenian president. We are simply looking forward to such an opportunity," Matthew Bryza said. Concerning the tough stance assumed by the Azerbaijani side towards the maintenance of the MG format of the process, the U.S. co-chair said to believe that, notwithstanding the recent escalation, either Azerbaijan was in favor of continued talks. He expressed confidence that the process will be continued and said to be hopeful that it will not take too long and will come to completion soon. "The start has been given today: the Armenian president-elect has not yet sworn in and one should move ahead step by step," he said. Answering a question on the possibility of operating a shift in the format of the talks, Matthew Bryza stressed that there is one format -that of the OSCE Minsk group -and there are no serious reasons for changing it at this point of time. "I think that process is progressing,"he said.

After the meeting, Serzh Sargsyan went to the Romanian Parliament to take part in the discussion of the heads of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council member States, referred to as "Euro-Atlantic Partnership: countering security challenges in the 21st century." In anticipation of the forum, Serzh Sargsyan had a number of contacts with various heads of state in attendance of the forum.

During the discussion, the RA President-elect reaffirmed Armenia's commitment to deepening the cooperation with the NATO under the Individual Partnership Action Plan, strengthening democracy and promoting stability in the country as an important factor for regional peace and stability. Serzh Sargsyan underscored the need for settling the Karabakh conflict in a peaceful manner - exclusively by means of negotiations - and said to be regretful and concerned at the warlike statements voiced during the process from time to time.

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