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Ankara And Baku Want Trilateral Talks With Armenia On Nagorno-Karabakh

Baku, 9 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Turkey and Azerbaijan expressed a desire today to hold trilateral talks with Armenia on the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said during a visit to Azerbaijan today that his country and Azerbaijan wish a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"Regretfully, 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory has been occupied by Armenia. The Nagorno-Karabakh situation is unresolved. We want all these problems to be resolved in the framework of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity."

Armenian-backed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh drove Azerbaijani forces out of the enclave in 1994 after six years of fighting. A cease-fire was declared but no political solution to ownership of the territory has been reached. Ethnic Armenians also control other parts of Azerbaijan that adjoin Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliyev said his country welcomed Turkey's participation in talks with Armenia.

Gul said Armenia had expressed a willingness to participate in such talks in the past. But he said there had been no new contacts to organize such a meeting.