Caucasus foes to discuss Karabakh

Caucasus foes to discuss Karabakh

BBC News
May 12 2004

Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of the ceasefire Armenian and
Azeri ministers are meeting to discuss the disputed territory of

They are expected to discuss Armenia returning some of the Karabakh
regions to Azeri control, in exchange for reopening transport links.

The talks coincide with the 10th anniversary of a ceasefire between the
countries, which ended five years of hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Thousands died in the conflict and a million were forced out of
their homes.

The conflict erupted in 1988, when the majority Armenians in the
mountainous enclave demanded independence from Soviet Azerbaijan.

According to Azeri President Ilham Aliev, the foreign ministers of
Azerbaijan and Armenia will discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh issue on
Wednesday at a session of the foreign ministers of Council of Europe
member countries.

“We will exchange opinions on the possibility of liberating seven
regions of Azerbaijan in exchange for opening transport communications
with Armenia,” he said.

“The occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the regions around it are
the biggest problem and danger both for Azerbaijan and for the
entire region.”


In 1994, the two governments signed a ceasefire ceding Nagorno-Karabakh
and six of the surrounding territories to Armenian control.

Since then the international community has urged the two countries
to find a solution to the conflict, but talks have stalled.

The BBC’s Chloe Arnold in the Azeri capital Baku, says relations
between the two neighbours are as bad today as they have ever been.

She says there is growing impatience with the peace process in
Azerbaijan, where many ordinary people here now say the only way to
resolve the dispute is to go back to war.