BAKU: Armenia May Start Withdrawing From Occupied Azeri Districts So

Armenia May Start Withdrawing From Occupied Azeri Districts Soon

Baku Today
June 15 2004

An unidentified source close to the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation – Dashnaktsutyun – said Kocharyan’s government may start
discussions to release the occupied Azerbaijani districts surrounding
Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia’s Iravunk newspaper reported on June 11.

The Iravunk story quoted the unnamed source as saying that during
his recent meeting with the governing coalition, the president said
“when he and [assassinated Prime Minister] Vazgen Sarkisyan were
occupying the Azerbaijani districts around Nagorno Karabakh, they
knew definitely that they should give them back.”

The same source added that Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan is going
to leave for the USA and, “in all probability, he will be given a
date to start the process.”

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on June
11 told RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani service that Azerbaijani and Armenian
negotiators are taking a new approach to settling their dispute over

Mammadyarov said Baku and Yerevan are working on a plan that will
include elements from each side’s previous proposals.

Mammadyarov and Oskanian are expected to meet in Prague on April 21.

Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s former autonomous region that is home to
nearly 100,000 ethnic-Armenians, and also seven Azeri administrative
districts – Lachin, Kelbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrail, Zangilan and
Gubadli — were captured by Armenian troops in 1991-1994 war.

The occupied territories make up for 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s total
area and nearly 700,000 civilian Azeris were forced to leave their
homes as a result of the war.

Despite a shaky cease-fire agreement signed between Baku and Yerevan
in May 1994, no final settlement has been found to the conflict.