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Armenia, Azerbaijan 'Coming Closer' To Peace

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza addresses a youth forum in Tsaghkadzor on August 7.
YEREVAN -- The top U.S. official for Nagorno-Karabakh talks insists that Armenia and Azerbaijan are moving closer to a framework agreement over the disputed territory, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Ending a two-day visit to Yerevan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza also downplayed the significance of recent changes made to the peace proposal principles formally put forth by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group in Madrid in November 2007.

He told RFE/RL that the "fundamental formulations that are in the Madrid document remain, and what has changed is a few slight technical points that are important, of course, but they are technical and in no way disadvantage either side."

Some opposition politicians in Armenia claim that the newly revised version of the "Madrid Principles" disadvantages the Armenian side, requiring it to make more concessions to Azerbaijan on key issues.

Bryza dismissed those claims as "ridiculous" and "empty."

The "updated version" of the peace plan was devised at a July meeting of the Minsk Group in Krakow, Poland.

Bryza said Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders agree on the "fundamental concepts" of the proposal but that a final solution is still a long way off.