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Armenia Hints At 'Breakthrough' In Karabakh Talks

President Kocharian is optimistic, but warned not to expect an agreement (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) 8 February 2006 -- Armenian President Robert Kocharian said today he sees "some possibilities of a breakthrough" at the Armenian-Azerbaijan summit this week on the 18-year-old territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.

However, Kocharian cautioned that no final agreement is expected.

He was speaking to reporters in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, ahead of a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, President Ilham Aliyev.

The two-day talks in Rambouillet, France, begin on 10 February.

The leaders will discuss the future status of the predominantly ethnic-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh, which seceded from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1988, triggering a six-year war that ended with a truce. Officially, the two countries are still at war.

In addition to their presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian troops occupy seven Azerbaijani administrative districts next to the separatist enclave.



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