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Baku Says 'No Obstacle' To Aliyev-Kocharian Meeting


http://gdb.rferl.org/67D99B4D-9488-48C5-9AC0-23CEC0C32129_w203.gif --> http://gdb.rferl.org/67D99B4D-9488-48C5-9AC0-23CEC0C32129_mw800_mh600.gif (RFE/RL) September 10, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev says there are no obstacles to a meeting Aliyev and Armenian President Robert Kocharian.


But Novruz Mamedov told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that every time negotiations have reached a decisive moment, the Armenian side has found a reason to prevent such a meeting from taking place.


Commenting on an upcoming visit by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which seeks to mediate a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mamedov said that international mediators are reluctant to pass judgment on Armenia. He said that the states represented in the Minsk Group "don't want to take concrete, decisive steps towards Armenia. Maybe it's a double standard. But this position is wrong."


The French, Russian, and U.S. co-chairs of the Minsk Group are due to visit Azerbaijan and Armenia this week.


Last week, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that a meeting between Kocharian and Aliyev would make sense only if the co-chairs succeed during their visit in narrowing the differences between the two sides. He said such progress hinges on unspecified "courageous steps" by Azerbaijan.


Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave inside Azerbaijan with a mostly ethnic Armenian population. Armenian forces seized control of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a war in the early 1990s that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives. A cease-fire was signed in 1994, but the two countries have failed to negotiate a settlement on the region's status.

RFE/RL Caucasus Report


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