BAKU: Russia Ready to Organize Meeting between Azerbaijani, Armenia

RUSSIA READY TO ORGANIZE MEETING BETWEEN AZERBAIJANI, ARMENIAN PRESIDENTS – SPEAKER

Trend News Agency
May 13 2008
Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, 13 May /Trend News corr S. Agayeva/ Russia is
ready to organize a meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian
Presidents to continue peaceful negotiations on settlement of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"There are good opportunities for a meeting between the conflicting
sides’ presidents. Russia offers its assistance to organize the
meeting," Boris Grizlov, Speaker of the Russian Parliament, said in
Baku on 13 May during the meeting with the chairman of the Azerbaijani
Parliament Ogtay Asadov.

"Moscow will support any decision of the sides regarding the conflict,"
Grizlov said.

The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia are expected to meet in St
Petersburg in June within the framework of the Economic Forum to take
place from 6 to 7 June.

"The agreement in this connection was achieved between the two
countries’ Foreign Ministers during CE Ministerial Committee’s meeting
in Strasburg on 6 May," Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov
said to journalists on 12 May.

That will be the first meeting between Ilham Aliyev and the newly
elected Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who was elected in February.

"At the meeting with new Armenian authorities it will become clear
how much they are ready for peaceful negotiations," he said.

During the upcoming meeting the Presidents are expected to discuss
written suggestions on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which were presented
by the OSCE Minsk Group’s co-chairs to Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign
Ministers in Madrid on 29 November 2007. The core of the suggestions
is kept in secret due to confidentiality of the negotiation process.

So far, OSCE Minsk Group’s co-chairs presented three suggestions to
the conflicting countries, with two of them rejected by Armenia. And
Baku rejected co-chairs’ suggestion to establish a confederative
state with Nagorno-Karabakh.

The conflict between the two countries of the South Caucasus began
in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since
1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20% of Azerbaijan including
the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. In
1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which
time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk
Group ( Russia, France, and the US) are currently holding peaceful
negotiations.

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