Mann Supports Karabakh’s Inclusion in Talks

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
July 27 2004

Mann Supports Karabakh’s Inclusion in Talks

The US co-chairman of the Minsk group of the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Stephen Mann, voiced
support for the idea to include Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians in the
Azerbaijani-Armenian peace talks in an interview with Russia’s Regnum
news agency on Monday.
`Nagorno-Narabakh’s participation [in the talks] does no depend on
the co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk group, but on the sides of the
conflict. But in my personal opinion, it is needed to attract all the
interested sides to the talks,’ Regnum quoted Mann as saying.
The US diplomat said this would help speed up finding a settlement to
the conflict.

`However, it is the sides of the conflict that have a final say [on
the issue]. It is up to them to decide whom they are going to attract
to the peace process,’ Mann said, according to Regnum.

Baku strongly opposes to the idea of the inclusion of
Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to the peace negotiations on the grounds
that it was Armenia, but not the ethnic-Armenian populated Azeri
region that fought the 1991-94 war against Azerbaijan.

As a result of the war, Armenian troops took control over
Nagorno-Karabakh – a western Azeri region that was home to nearly
100,000 ethnic-Armenians in late 1980s – along with seven of
Azerbaijan’s administrative districts, Lachin Kelbajar, Aghdam,
Fuzuli, Jebrail, Qubadli and Zengilan.

Nearly 20,000 Azeris were killed and 700,000 were forced to leave
their homes during the war.

A shaky armistice agreement reached between Baku and Yerevan in 1994
is frequently violated in the line of contact between the Armenian
and Azerbaijani armies.

The US co-chair of the Misk group, Mann, said his country is for a
peaceful resolution of the conflict, urging the sides to go for a

“We will do everything to prevent a new tragedy,” Mann said, adding
that any breach of the stability in the region could jeopardize
multi-billion projects, such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress