(PRAGUE, Czech Republic) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried tells RFE/RL's Armenian service that a deal between Armenia and Azerbaijain on Nagorno-Karabakh by year's end is "possible, but not inevitable."
"There are hard decisions that need to be made on both sides. If the conflict were easy to resolve, it would have been resolved already," said Fried, shortly after holding talks in Yerevan with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, and opposition leaders.
Fried also said he believes the likelihood of a full-blown armed conflict breaking out over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave has decreased since Russia and Georgia fought a brief war over the territory of South Ossetia in August.
"I think that danger, which always exists, has somewhat receded because the war in Georgia reminded everyone in this region how terrible war is. There are some who are always tempted to talk in fiery language. But war is no joke. It's a bad option," he said.
Fried said he is cautious about making any bold predictions for an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. He noted that, back in 2001, Yerevan and Baku were on the verge of a peace deal when the presidents of both countries held U.S.-mediated talks on the Florida island of Key West. That deal collapsed within weeks.
The United States, France, and Russia have been recently attempting to negotiate a settlement of the conflict in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group.
About RFE/RL's Armenian Service
Online and on the air, RFE/RL's Armenian Service has been a consistent and dependable provider of independent information in Armenia for more than 50 years. Today, it is the most trusted news source within Armenia, with its stories -- both broadcast and online -- regularly cited and reprinted by the country's media.
About RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
For more than 50 years, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Radio Azadliq, has operated within a challenging media environment as a dependable source of professional, independent, and up-to-the minute information and news. Radio Azadliq puts the values of democracy and independence firmly at the center of its mission, and is the country's most popular international broadcaster.