BAKU: Azeri Opp leaders, MPs meet US official to discuss NK, Polls

Azeri opposition leaders, MPs meet top US official to discuss Karabakh, polls

ANS TV, Baku
27 Mar 04

US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage started his meetings in
Baku today. He met Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev some time
ago. They focused on issues of economic and political cooperation and
the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict.

Before his meeting with the head of state, Armitage met some
opposition leaders – [the chairman of the People’s Front of Azerbaijan
Party] Ali Karimli, [Musavat Party chairman] Isa Qambar, MPs Anar
Mammadxanli, Samad Seyidov and the head of the Karabakh House Society,
Tamerlan Qarayev, at the US embassy in Azerbaijan. During the meeting,
Armitage was informed about the Armenian parliament’s plans to adopt a
decision to annex Nagornyy Karabakh to Armenia. The US diplomat was
extremely surprised at this news, stressed the importance of paying
close attention to the issue and said that the settlement of the
conflict would be more difficult in that case.

Then the sides discussed bilateral relations between the countries and
the 2003 presidential elections.

To recap, Armitage’s visit is coming to an end. He will give a news
conference at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev airport on the results of his

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said during his meeting with
Armitage that cooperation with the USA was developing in all
spheres. This manifests itself mainly in the implementation of energy
projects and in the military sphere.

In turn, Armitage said that the USA will increase the volume of its
aid to Azerbaijan in the future and support the [Azerbaijani] regional
development programme.