Armenian Foreign Ministry chief spokesman Arsen Gasparian on January 16 reaffirmed Yerevan’s position that the OSCE and its "Minsk conference" group of countries is the sole negotiating forum for settling the Karabakh conflict. At the same time, Armenia "has welcomed and will welcome efforts by Iran to develop confidence between Azerbaijan and Karabakh and Armenia." The spokesman said that he was commenting on recent reports that Armenian foreign minister Alexander Arzumanian had called on Iran to become a mediator in the Karabakh conflict. (Russian agencies, January 16)
Iran’s official news agency last week cited Arzumanian as urging Tehran to become a mediator. (See Monitor, January 14) Karabakh’s recently elected president Arkady Gukasian has also been cited as favoring a role for Iran. That country is not a member of the OSCE. However, the comments in Yerevan and Stepanakert do not appear to rule out some role for Iran to complement that of the OSCE mediating group.
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