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Kerry: Nagorno-Karabakh Solution 'Critical'

  • RFE/RL

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has hosted Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian for talks focusing on the impasse over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ahead of their meeting on June 4, Kerry said it was "critical" that all parties increase efforts to resolve the conflict over the breakaway Azerbaijani territory populated by ethnic Armenians.

"One of the most important issues, obviously, that we all really want to try to see resolved one day is the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh," Kerry said.

"It is critical that all the parties -- and when I say 'all the parties,' I mean, obviously, the Azerbaijanis, but also Turkey, Russia, Iran, and others -- try to find a way to help break the impasse."

Nalbandian said relations between Yerevan and Washington were "today in their highest point" and that both sides shared a common vision to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"We share the vision, same vision, that it is important to continue efforts to find, exclusively, a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based on the principles and norms of international law, particularly the nonuse of force, self-determination, and territorial integrity," Nalbandian said.

Kerry met on June 3 with Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov, where he cited a possible "path forward" on the conflict.

Kerry and Nalbandian were also to discuss economic ties and "strengthening democracy" in Armenia.

Armenian opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian was in Washington on June 3, where he said he urged the State Department to take a more active role in promoting Armenian democracy.

Armenia, which backs ethnic Armenian separatists who control Nagorno-Karabakh and several surrounding districts, has been locked in conflict with Azerbaijan for more than two decades over the enclave.

After going to war, a truce was signed in 1994, but there is still sporadic violence.

Years of internationally mediated talks have failed to resolve the conflict.

With reporting by Reuters
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