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Armenian Minister Says Karabakh Meeting 'Constructive'

Vartan Oskanian (file photo) (OSCE) April 19, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian says international mediators are attempting to organize a meeting between Armenia's and Azerbaijan's presidents aimed at resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported.

Oskanian told RFE/RL today that the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group -- representing France, Russia, and the United States -- will likely visit the region in the near future to organize the meeting.

"The co-chairs most probably will visit the region and meet directly with our presidents to get their reactions to these particular views and on the basis of the result of that visit they will decide when and where to organize the presidents' next meeting," Oskanian said.

Oskanian made his comments one day after meeting his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov, and the Minsk Group co-chairs in Belgrade. Oskanian said the meeting focused on suggestions the co-chairs had to resolve outstanding differences between the Armenian and Azerbaijani side.

Oskanian described the meeting as "constructive" and "businesslike."

He added it was "much more relaxed and well-intended" than a similar meeting in Geneva on March 14.

Oskanian said that based on the content of a current framework agreement overseen by the Minsk Group, Armenia and Azerbaijan have never been so close to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as they are now.

"I compare this document to all the previous ones that have ever been presented by the co-chairs in the past 10-12 years, and this document content-wise is very balanced and very reasonable," he said. "And that is why I think this document should provide a promise for making further progress in our talks."

More than 25,000 people were killed between 1991-94 in the battle for control over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic-Armenian region located on Azerbaijani territory.

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RFE/RL Caucasus Report

RFE/RL Caucasus Report

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