USA, Washington / corr Trend A.Gara / Trend's interview with US Ambassador Matthew Bryza, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair
- Much has been written about your forthcoming tour of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. When are you planning to visit the region, what will be the route of the travel and what is the purpose of this visit?
My trip to Baku and Yerevan will begin this weekend. I am going to join my co-chairmen and partners - ambassador Fassier from France and ambassador Merzlyakov from Russia, to conduct the next round of consultations within the Minsk Group process. We are preparing for the meetings with the presidents next week in both Baku and Yerevan. This will be followed by presidents' own meeting in June 9 at St. Petersburg, where we hope they will come very close to an agreement on basic principles of Nagorno-Karabakh settlement that we have been negotiating for. I will be in Baku on Tuesday and Wednesday and on Thursday I will visit Yerevan.
What is the framework of presidents' meeting in St. Petersburg on June 9 and what can we expect from it?
This meeting is going to take place within the framework of the Minsk group negotiations. This is one of the meetings that happen periodically. Last time they met in November and now they are going to meet again to narrow the remaining differences and talk about basic principles that the Minsk group co-chairmen have suggested to them. Hoping that if this meeting is good one in St. Petersburg and they can agree on the basic principles then this can provide formal framework for the peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Recently Armenia conducted parliamentary elections. There are various opinions about the conduct of the elections. In your opinion, what are the implications of these elections and their results on the negotiation process?
I do not think that Armenia's parliamentary elections have any effect on the negotiations process on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. As the pertinent OSCE bodies and we have concluded these elections marked a step forward in terms of democratic processes in Armenia but still indicated the need for further progress in democratic reform. They are significant in terms of Armenia's own internal political evolution but I do not think that these elections will have any effect on Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations.
The Minsk Group chairmen and representatives of other international organizations expressed their optimism that there can be path breaking developments towards the resolution of the conflict over this summer. Do you think that these views reflect the reality of the situation in the current negotiations?
Actually you are quoting me there; obviously I stand by my own statement. I was quoted in many Azerbaijani and Armenian publications that I am optimistic with the current status of negotiations. There is a chance that if this meeting in St. Petersburg goes well, then potentially we can see presidents agreeing on the basic principles.