BAKU: Azeri FM says Armenia ready to discuss stage-by-stage plan

Azeri minister says Armenia ready to discuss stage-by-stage plan

ANS TV, Baku
9 May 04

[Presenter] The Russian co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Yuriy
Merzlyakov, has said that Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will hold their next meeting in the
Kazakh capital, Astana, in September. He said that the meeting would
be held on the sidelines of a CIS summit.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that the date and
venue of the presidents’ next meeting will be known for certain after
a meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries due in
Strasbourg. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and
Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan will discuss the liberation
of Azerbaijan’s seven occupied districts in Strasbourg on 12 May. Here
is Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov:

[Mammadyarov, speaking to journalists] There will be a general
exchange of opinions. I mean, the co-chairmen expressed their views in
Prague, the Azerbaijani side expressed its views and the Armenian side
expressed its views. We will again exchange our views in Strasbourg,
and each side – Azerbaijan, Armenia and the co-chairmen – will once
again discuss which path to take.

As you know, the Azerbaijani president mentioned the liberation of
seven districts and the opening of transport links. We suggest going
this way so as the conflict is settled even quicker.

[ANS journalist] Does this mean that Azerbaijan will propose that the
principles of a stage-by-stage settlement plan be discussed along with
some other elements?

[Mammadyarov] Yes, exactly the state-by-stage plan. This is what we
suggest because we know that our main task now is to return refugees
and displaced persons to the liberated lands.

[ANS journalist] Does Armenia agree to discuss this option?

[Mammadyarov] Yes, there is a general feeling that Armenia is ready to
discuss the stage-by-stage plan.