Ilham Aliyev (file photo) (AFP)
1 March 2006 -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was quoted today as saying that talks with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave are at a "dead end."
Speaking in the town Banofshala, in a small part of Nagorno-Karabakh still controlled by Azerbaijan, Aliyev said his country must review its position and be ready for any eventuality.
Progress in resolving the dispute appeared to be gaining momentum in recent weeks, culminating in a face-to-face meeting last month in France between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan. But those talks ended without any reports of a breakthrough.
Armenian forces control of most of the enclave, but Karabakh's status remains unresolved. The 18-year-old dispute has claimed at least 25,000 lives and driven more than a million people from their homes.
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In February 1988, the local assembly in Stepanakert, the local capital of the Azerbaijani region of NAGORNO-KARABAKH, passed a resolution calling for unification of the predominantly ethnic-Armenian region with Armenia. There were reports of violence against local Azeris, followed by attacks against Armenians in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. In 1991-92, Azerbaijani forces launched an offensive against separatist forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, but the Armenians counterattacked and by 1993-94 had seized almost all of the region, as well as vast areas around it. About 600,000 Azeris were displaced and as many as 25,000 people were killed before a Russian-brokered cease-fire was imposed in May 1994.
CHRONOLOGY: For an annotated timeline of the fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-94 and the long search for a permanent settlement to the conflict, click here.
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