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Azerbaijan's Aliyev Says Karabakh Talks 'Hopeless'

Ilham Aliyev (file photo) (epa) BAKU, June 23, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has described the efforts of international mediators to resolve Azerbaijan's dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh as "hopeless," RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service reported.

Aliyev made the comment today during a graduation ceremony of cadets in Baku at Azerbaijan's supreme military academy.

He said Azerbaijan was ready only to negotiate the restoration of its sovereignty over the disputed Armenian-majority enclave.

The failure of international mediation, the Azerbaijani leader said, was forcing him to change policy. He said Azerbaijan would retake Nagorno-Karabakh by whatever means it takes.

Aliyev warned Armenia that he would use Azerbaijan's rapildy expanding oil wealth to strengthen the armed forces.

(with material from AFP)

MORE: To read an interview with the new U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group on prospects for resolving the Karabakh crisis, click here.

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