Azerbaijan Wants NATO Help for Karabakh Solution

BAKU (Reuters)–Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Safar Abiyev has urged NATO to play a role in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict–a ministry statement said on Thursday.

"We would like NATO to get involved in the resolution process of the Armenian-Azeri conflict," the statement quoted Abiyev as telling Italian ambassador Alessandro Fallavollita during a meeting on Wednesday.

Although Azerbaijan has made several overtures to join NATO–Abiyev’s remarks were the first time the oil-producing nation had asked the alliance to become involved in settling the decade-old Karabakh conflict.

In the worst outbreak of fighting since the cease-fire–at least two people were killed and six wounded on Monday in a more than four-hour shoot-out between Armenian and Azeri troops.

Azerbaijan–seeking stronger ties with NATO–has in the past sent signals that Baku would welcome a more powerful alliance role in the Caucasus region.

Armenian President Robert Kocharian has said that Armenia opposes a role for NATO in the Karabakh conflict.

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