Washington, 5 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department has confirmed that an international delegation of senior U.S., French and Russian officials traveled to Armenia and Azerbaijan last week with new ideas for a lasting settlement between the two countries.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said yesterday the United States will send a negotiator back to the region shortly and plans to push the new proposal very hard. He gave no details. Burns said the suggestions were put to governments in Baku and Yerevan, as well as authorities in Stepanakert, regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.
The region, inhabited largely by ethnic Armenians, has been at the center of years of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. A ceasefire is now in affect.
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott represented the U.S. in the delegation of the so called Minsk group which has been trying to mediate a peace settlement. Before returning to Washington at the weekend, he stopped in neighboring Turkey to brief the Ankara government on the results of the discussions.
Burns quoted Talbott as saying the Russians, French and Americans worked together effectively and he was pleased with the trip.