The New York Times: Presidents' meeting in Kazan - best opportunity to end stalemate over Nagorno Karabakh
Azerbaijan, Baku, June 13 / Trend, E.Tariverdiyeva /
A presidential-level meeting scheduled for June 25 is the best opportunity in years to end the stalemate over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh, analysts believe, The New York Times reported. The momentum has been driven in large part by President Dmitri A. Medvedev, who has invested his time and prestige in resolving the dispute, the article says.
"Russia's goal for the late-June meeting in Kazan, Russia, is to persuade the sides to agree to the set of "basic principles" negotiated more than five years ago, said Aleksandr K. Lukashevich, a spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry. He said international mediators - Russia, France and the United States - had clearly expressed the urgency of a deal," the article says.
The foreign ministers made no statements after the meeting on Saturday, but on Friday, a top aide to Azerbaijan's president said there were "great expectations" for the talks in Kazan. Statements from Armenia have been more circumspect, though the country's foreign minister said on Thursday that "it will be possible to achieve the expected progress if Azerbaijan also gives its consent," The New York Times reported.
The framework agreement outlined in the basic principles would allow the return of thousands of Azeris displaced during a six-year war over the territory, which ended with a cease-fire in 1994, and Armenia's president must persuade his people that ethnic Armenians living there will not be in danger, said Thomas de Waal, a Caucasus specialist at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.