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Karabakh Mediators Meet With Armenian Officials

President Aliyev said Azerbaijan will never surrender territory (AFP) 2 February 2006 -- International mediators are meeting with Armenian officials today ahead of next week's Armenian-Azerbaijani summit on the status of the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Diplomats from Russia, France, and the United States -- the co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Minsk Group -- traveled to Yerevan for talks today after visiting the Azerbaijani capital Baku on 1 February .

Predominantly ethnic Armenian Karabakh seceded from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1988, triggering a six-year war that ended with an uneasy truce. The conflict claimed some 30,000 lives and drove nearly 1 million people out of their homes.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Robert Kocharian are scheduled to meet in France on 10-11 February.

In an address published in state newspapers on 1 February, Aliyev said his country would never compromise on its territory.



Click on the map to see an enlarged map of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area.

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 occupied most of 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.

For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,click here.

Of particular interest:

2005 In Review: Conflicts In Caucasus Still Characterized By Gridlock

Nagorno-Karabakh President Expresses Optimism

Nagorno-Karabakh: OSCE To Unveil New Peace Plan