Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov (left) and his Armenian counterpart, Vartan Oskanian (file photo) (RFE/RL)
June 6, 2006 -- The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia said today the two countries' presidents made no progress on resolving the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh when they twice met on the sidelines of a regional summit on June 5-6.
Both Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian said they had instructions to continue negotiations.
Officially, Azerbaijan and Armenia are still at war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mostly ethnic Armenian enclave which seceded from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1988.
The meetings between Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Bucharest at a Black Sea summit were also attended by representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is trying to broker a settlement.
Matthew Bryza, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, in Baku today said the United States was hopeful a resolution to the long-standing conflict could be reached this year.
He described 2006 as "a very important year" and said "the political calendar begins to get more complicated in Armenia."
The United States is one of the members of the OSCE's Minsk Group charged with trying to end the dispute.
(AP, Interfax-Azerbaijan, day.az)
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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 launched an offensive against separatist forces in 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.
CHRONOLOGY: For an annotated timeline of the fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-94 and the long search for a permanent settlement to the conflict, click here.
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