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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Diplomat Says Nagorno Resolution Possible

Washington, 30 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - A senior U.S. diplomat nominated to be America's new ambassador to Azerbaijan says he will work hard to bring a balanced resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Armenia.

The diplomat, Stanley Escudero, said it is in the U.S. interest to help resolve the long-lasting dispute. He also said he will work to persuade the government of Azerbaijan to continue and intensify its domestic reform programs.

Escudero made the statement during testimony yesterday before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at a hearing to confirm his appointment. Escudero is a veteran U.S. diplomat and has served previously as U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Tajikstan.

Other nominees appearing with him were career diplomats William Montgomery, who is nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Croatia; Steven Pifer, the nominee to be Ambassador to Ukraine; and Joseph Presel, who has been nominated be Ambassador to Uzbekistan. The committee also heard from Lynn Pascoe, U.S. Special Negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh, whose status is being elevated to the rank of Ambassador.

Senator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon), who chaired the hearing, told our correspondent that the Committee hopes to vote on the appointments next week. The Committee's recommendation then goes to the full Senate, where all 100 members must vote on the nominations.