ANKARA: Meetings With Azeri Pres To Yield Positive Results: Armenian

MEETINGS WITH AZERI PRES TO YIELD POSITIVE RESULTS: ARMENIAN LEADER

Hurriyet
Nov 7 2008
Turkey

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said Thursday he would be glad
of any meeting with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, since these
contacts are leading to positive decisions.

"I am glad for any meeting with President Aliyev because I can see
that all our meetings leading to positive decisions," Sargsyan told a
joint press conference with the European Commission Chief Jose Manuel
Barroso following their meeting in Brussels.

Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders met in Moscow at the weekend and
signed a declaration calling for a "peaceful resolution" to their
dispute over the province of Nagorno-Karabakh on the basis of "binding
international guarantees", taking a step further towards the resolution
of the conflict.

"A few days ago we signed a declaration in Moscow. One of the clauses
of this declaration is that we see the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
resolution in the format of the OSCE (Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group," Sargsyan was quoted by Interfax
news agency as saying.

The Armenian president said he and Aliyev agreed to order the
countries’ foreign ministers to hold talks in line with the Madrid
principles, after their meeting in Moscow.

"If we reach common ground, then I think an agreement on the principles
should be signed, which, in turn, should be followed by a fundamental
agreement," Sargsyan said.

The Armenian leader did not say when the next meetings and talks on
the Nagorno-Karabakh issue would be held.

The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia began in 1988 on Armenian
territorial claims over Azerbaijan.

Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20 percent of
Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven
surrounding districts, displacing 10 percent of the Azeri population
in the series of bloody clashes both between and within the two
neighboring countries.

In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which
time the active hostilities ended. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk
Group are currently holding peaceful negotiations. Nearly 30,000 were
killed in the 1990s war over the enclave and soldiers on both sides
continue to exchange sporadic fire, claiming lives.

There is no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey over
Armenia’s aggression toward Azerbaijan.

BARROSO HAILS GUL’S VISIT Barroso said he hoped the Turkish President’s
recent visit to Armenia would be the start of a real dialogue.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Armenia was a remarkable
initiative, the European Commission chief told a press conference.

Barroso said he could understand that matters concerning Turkey and
Armenia could sometimes be difficult, dramatic and quite sensitive.

However, the difficulties could be overcome with political courage,
he added.

Barroso said establishing dialogue and reaching a consensus in the
region were of great importance for the stability and prosperity of
Europe, as both Turkey and Armenia were parts of the continent.

He also said the ongoing exchange of views between Turkish and Armenian
officials would affect the security of the Caucasus positively.

Sargsyan also met other EU officials in Brussels, including foreign
policy chief, Javier Solana.

Solana told the Armenia’s president he has supported the
Nagorno-Karabakh peaceful talks and the Armenian-Turkish dialogue,
Sargsyan’s press office reported.

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