Aliyev Not Ready to Cooperate With Armenia

BAKU (Itar-Tass)–Azerbaijan supports the creation of a free trade zone on the territory of the former Soviet Union–President Haydar Aliyev said Thursday before leaving for the Moscow summit of the CIS leaders.

The concept of a free trade zone–developed by the CIS Executive Secretariat and amended by the CIS member states–will be one of the major topics of discussion during the summit.

Aliyev declined to be specific on Azerbaijan’s position on the matter–saying only that the creation of such a zone could boost economic cooperation and broaden bilateral ties within the CIS.

According to Vafa Guliadze–Aliyev’s foreign policy adviser–Azerbaijan is ready to join the agreement on the free trade zone–but with one reservation–it does not intend to set ties and cooperate with Armenia until the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

Aliyev will make a statement on this issue at the summit–Guliadze said.

Azerbaijan First Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Abbasov–who accompanies Aliyev to Moscow–told Itar-Tass that in case the CIS leaders discuss the prolongation of the Collective Security Treaty–his country’s stand will also have reserves concerning the ongoing military conflict with Armenia.

At the same time–sources in the Aliyev administration did not exclude the possibility of a bilateral meeting between Aliyev and Armenian President Robert Kocharian during the summit.

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