Albright Vows More Attention to Karabakh

WASHINGTON (Reuters)–Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Tuesday promised to accelerate US efforts to achieve a peace settlement in the Caucasus region between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"I will make a point of seeing that we rev it up a bit," Albright told a hearing of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations. She gave no details.

She made her comment after panel chairman Sen. Mitch McConnell complained that Russia–which had joined with the United States and France in seeking a peace deal in Nagorno-Karabakh as the Minsk Group–was "not interested in a settlement."

"If we do not elevate this issue and proceed with or without the Russia’s or the Minsk Group–we compromise our interests in a coherent Caspian energy security policy," said McConnell–a Kentucky Republican.

He argued that a "consistent–US-led initiative could produce a breakthrough."

Albright agreed that the Caspian and the Caucasus are "an area of major importance to us" but said "there is no quick and easy solution" to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

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