Baku Hails Moscow On Nagorno-Karabakh


United Press International UPI
/Baku-hails-Moscow-on-Nagorno-Karabakh/UPI-5635124 9320162/
Aug 3 2009

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug. 3 (UPI) — The Russian effort to mediate
a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and
Azerbaijan is moving forward, Baku says.

War broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh
in the early 1990s, and the regional fallout from that row remains
tense despite a 1994 cease-fire.

Moscow hosted bilateral talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan in
July in an effort to find a political solution to the simmering
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Azeri Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said those efforts on the part
of Moscow were making progress, RIA Novosti reports.

"The efforts being taken by Russia to settle the conflict deserve
respect and are encouraging," he said following a meeting with Russian
officials in Baku.

He warned, however, that conflict may be inevitable if political
negotiations fail.

Azerbaijan is spending some $2 billion on its military, which eclipses
the entire federal budget for Armenia. Meanwhile, Armenia is asking for
self-determination over the region, while Azerbaijan demands Armenian
troops leave and allow Nagorno-Karabakh to remain Azeri territory.

A measure offered in 2007 by U.S., French and Russian leaders
calls on Azerbaijan to assume control over territories surrounding
Nagorno-Karabakh, demands the rights of return for displaced persons
and proposes an international security guarantee that could include
a peacekeeping operation.