BAKU: Armitage says USA not to set up military bases in Azerbaijan

Top official says USA not to set up military bases in Azerbaijan

ANS TV, Baku
27 Mar 04

[Presenter Leyla Hasanova] Before leaving Baku, US Deputy Secretary of
State Richard Armitage held a news conference at [Baku’s] Heydar
Aliyev airport.

[Correspondent] Proposals for the settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh
conflict should be expected not from the top, i.e. the OSCE Minsk
Group, but from lower ranks, i.e. the conflicting sides, since the
Minsk Group is only a mediator, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Armitage has told a news conference in Baku. He noted that the
Karabakh conflict was a complicated problem and expressed his hope for
its speedy resolution.

The need for opening the Armenian-Turkish border was also discussed at
meetings in Baku. Incidentally, in Yerevan, Mr Armitage pointed out
the expediency of opening the Armenian-Turkish border.

At his meeting in Baku, however, President Ilham Aliyev told him that
the opening of the borders could drag out the settlement of the

They also discussed freedom of the press at the meeting with the
president. Mr Armitage told the head of state about the need for
independent press in Azerbaijan and a public TV that is going to be
set up. The head of state agreed with him, saying that the public TV
would be independent.

At meetings with the opposition, Armitage touched on issues related to
freedom of the press and territorial integrity. Speaking about the
situation with human rights following the 15-16 October events
[post-election disturbances], Armitage said the US State Department
had expressed its view on this in a report which said that the human
rights situation in Azerbaijan was not desirable and could be
improved. We hope that this situation will improve, end of quote.

Armitage said that the USA was not going to set up a military base in
Azerbaijan and the Baku meetings had not discussed these issues. We
are not interested in bases and do not have such intentions, end of

Ali Ahmadov and Ramil Huseynov, ANS.