Sofia: Bulgarian FM urges resumption of Nagorno Karabakh talks

Bulgarian News Network, Bulgaria
March 16 2004

Bulgarian foreign minister urges resumption of Nagorno Karabakh talks

SOFIA (bnn) – Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, who chairs
the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe urged Tuesday
the sides in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh conflict to resume peace
talks without any preconditions.
`The key to the solution is in the direct dialog,’ Passy said during
a visit to the Azeri capital of Baku. `The OSCE is always ready to

Azerbaijan’s autonomous region of Nagorno Karabakh, which is
populated mainly by Armenians, petitioned to become part of Armenia
towards the end of the Soviet era. Serious fighting erupted in 1991
and in the following two years Armenian forces gained control of
Nagorno-Karabakh and occupied almost 20 percent of Azeri territory.

The leaders of the Nagorno-Karabakh region have declared
independence, though this status has not been recognized by any
state. The fighting between Azeris and Armenians left more than
15,000 dead.

Passy said the OSCE could propose various solutions to the conflict,
but added that `it would be just laboratory work until Armenia and
Azerbaijan reach agreement on the negotiation table.’

`The only option that will work will be the one of mutual
compromises,’ Passy said.

The Karabakh issue was a key topic of Passy’s talks with Azeri
President Ilham Aliev.

He told him that the later a solution is reached, the more painful it
will be for the local people. /bnn/