Nagorno Karabakh Resolution Unlikely In Immediate Future, Rice Says


13.03.2008 17:41 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed
doubt that the Nagorno Karabakh conflict can be solved soon, saying
there are problems on both sides.

Rice spoke at a Capitol Hill hearing after two lawmakers expressed
concern about the possibility of another war in the Caucasus region
and asked why the Bush administration was seeking more military aid
for Azerbaijan than Armenia.

"In the immediate future I don’t know that Nagorno Karabakh can get
solved," Rice said at the House appropriations subcommittee hearing
on the State Department’s budget.

"We have been close several times," Rice said. "And so we’ll continue
to try to work that. But I just have to emphasize, we have problems
on both sides right now, and we’re trying to make sure that both
sides act responsibly."

Rice said a state of emergency in Armenia, imposed recently after
rioting against the results of a presidential election, had made it
necessary to suspend some U.S. programs there.

But Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, complained that the
Bush administration had proposed several times as much U.S. aid in
one category of military assistance to Azerbaijan as Armenia in the
coming year, which he said broke a tradition of parity in assistance
for the two countries.

"The Azeri government, in particular, President Aliyev, have been
ratcheting up anti-Armenian rhetoric over the past few months in
Nagorno Karabakh," said Schiff.

Michigan Republican Joe Knollenberg said he would favor discontinuing
military aid to Azerbaijan. "I strongly believe that, instead of using
this funding to help in the war in terror, they’re gearing up for,
as they say, a regional war," he said, Reuters reports.