Baku Says Conflict Not Beneficial

BAKU (Itar-Tass)–Azeri Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov said Thursday the continuation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was not beneficial to his country.

Zulfugarov was speaking at a meeting with Frank Lambach–the German representative from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Minsk group on Karabakh.

He expressed confidence that the conflict would be resolved based on principles outlined by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington some weeks ago–during her meeting the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The principles–according to the minister–include the territorial integrity of all states in southern Caucasus–withdrawal from the so-called occupied territories and return of refugees–the formation–with international participation–of a security zone and the determination of the status of Nagorno- Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.

Zulfugarov said Albright’s proposals and the meeting in Washington between the presidents Haydar Aliyev and Robert Kocharian was an important indication of US intention to join the peace process.

The minister said that political consultations between the US–Russian and French co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group were continuing in Paris–where parties were discussing new ideas to make the peace process more dynamic.

Lambach noted that the settlement of regional conflicts in southern Caucasus and development of cooperation between the states will be discussed at a meeting between the leaders of Azerbaijan–Armenia and Georgia–due to take place in Luxembourg on June 22.

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