U.S. President and Secretary of State eager to do everything possible to solve Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: U.S. top official (UPDATED)
TREND: details added to the third and fifth paragraphs
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 19 / Trend /
The U.S. President and the Secretary of State are committed to doing everything possible to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Azerbaijan and Armenia living side-by-side in a peace, William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, said while making a speech to a conference on Azerbaijan -U.S. relations, organized at the Georgetown University.
Appointment of Bob Bradtke as the next U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group pursuers merely this purpose, Burns added.
"We hope progress in the negotiations between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia will enable to achieve significant results during their upcoming meeting next month," Burns said.
"The outline of a possible settlement has been clear for some time, though as with all things, the devil lies in the details and further discussions will be needed to satisfy the concerns of both sides. We trust that all parties will show the political will necessary to close negotiations and bring the conflict to its desired end. And we will devote considerable time and effort towards this goal," Burns added.
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.
In this respect he also touched upon the Armenian-Turkish relations, which should contribute to further development of the region.
"The historic steps being taken by Turkey and Armenia towards normalizing relations are very encouraging. Although this rapprochement is not linked to the Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations, both processes are critical for resolving the long-standing problems that have divided the South Caucasus and limited opportunities for regional growth. Settling these disputes will open doors to new levels of cooperation, trust, and commercial development region-wide," Burns said.
On Aug. 31, Turkey and Armenia in the talks mediated by Switzerland reached an agreement to launch "internal political consultations" to sign the Protocol on Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and Protocol on Development of Bilateral Relations, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
"Political consultations will be completed within six weeks, and following that two protocols will be signed and submitted to the two countries' parliaments for approval," the ministry said.
"Both protocols create a base for normalizing bilateral relations," the Turkish Foreign Ministry stressed.
The Armenian-Turkish ties have been severed since 1993.