Matthew Bryza: If there is ever to be a peaceful agreement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, societal leaders must be willing to help lead their fellow citizens toward compromise – EXCLUSIVE

Matthew Bryza: If there is ever to be a peaceful agreement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, societal leaders must be willing to help lead their fellow citizens toward compromise – <font color=red>EXCLUSIVE </font>
# 27 December 2008 10:07 (UTC +04:00)
Baku. Viktoriya Dementyeva – APA. American co-chair of OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza’s interview to APA concerning the results of the work done for the solution to Nagorno Karabakh conflict in 2008

-How do you assess 2008 in terms of the negotiations on the solution to Nagorno Karabakh conflict? Could the Minsk Group make an improvement on the solution?

-In my opinion, the main achievement in 2008 for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process has been the emergence of a constructive relationship between Presidents Sarksian and Aliyev. While I would not yet say that the two leaders trust each other sufficiently to reach the compromises required to finalize the Basic Principles, I am pleased by the willingness each President is showing to work through the remaining difficult issues with his counterpart. In short, the psychological atmosphere may now be right to catalyze tough decisions.

My main disappointment has probably been the unwillingness of many public figures in both countries, whether political leaders or journalists, to liberate themselves from conventional ways of thinking. If there is ever to be a peaceful agreement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, societal leaders must be willing to help lead their fellow citizens toward compromise. Unfortunately, rather than showing this sort of leadership, many societal leaders seem more concerned with trying to "score points" by criticizing statements by those involved in the peace process that break new ground.

-Has the date and place of Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents’ meeting been fixed? Can the presidents meet in the Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos at the end of January?

-As Presidents Sarksian and Aliyev noted in the November 2 Moscow Declaration, the sides should continue and intensify their efforts to finalize the Basic Principles in close cooperation with the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. The parties have made considerable progress. To finalize their work, they will need to prepare their societies for difficult compromises that will bring peace, stability, and prosperity. The Minsk Group Co-Chairs will facilitate this work in early 2009 by traveling again to the region and preparing the ground for another meeting between the Presidents. It is up to the Presidents to decide whether they wish to meet on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

-Will you continue your activity in this matter as a co-chair?

-I have no way to assess whether Secretary of State-designate Clinton will decide to retain me in my current position. What I can say with absolute certainty is that doing everything possible to help the parties reach a peaceful agreement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will remain of great personal importance to me. I feel connected to the people of the South Caucasus, and wish to help all them who seek to live in peace, prosperity, and democratic freedom.


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