EU urges progress in Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks

Agence France Presse
March 2, 2010 Tuesday 6:19 PM GMT

EU urges progress in Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks

BAKU, March 2 2010

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos called on Europe’s
behalf Tuesday for progress in peace talks on the disputed Nagorny
Karabakh region and in reconciliation efforts between Armenia and
Turkey.

Visiting arch-rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan, Moratinos — whose
country holds the six-month rotating European Union presidency — said
the EU wants to see "a quick settlement" in the conflict over
Karabakh.

"If both countries show good will, this conflict can be settled
peacefully. We should use all possibilities and resources to resolve
this conflict," he said after talks in Baku with his Azerbaijani
counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov.

Backed by Yerevan, ethnic Armenian forces seized control of Nagorny
Karabakh and seven surrounding districts from Azerbaijan in the early
1990s, in a war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives.

The two countries have failed to negotiate a settlement on Karabakh
and tensions remain high, with the defence ministry in Yerevan saying
Tuesday that an Armenian soldier had been killed in fighting near the
disputed region.

Moratinos earlier Tuesday met with Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard
Nalbandian in Yerevan, where he called on Turkey and Armenia to speed
up stalled reconciliation efforts by ratifying two protocols they
signed in October to establish diplomatic ties and reopen a shared
border.

"The EU urges Armenia and Turkey to ratify the protocols in a
reasonable time and without preconditions," Moratinos said.

The signing of the deals was hailed internationally as a key step in
overcoming decades of enmity stemming from World War I-era massacres
of Armenians under Ottoman Turks.

But ratification by both countries’ parliaments has stalled as the two
sides have traded accusations of trying to modify the deal.

Moratinos was also due to visit Georgia Wednesday as part of a two-day
visit to the volatile South Caucasus region on behalf of EU foreign
affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

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