NATO Will Not Send Forces to Karabakh Says Solana

BRUSSELS (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian Wednesday held a joint press briefing with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana who asserted that NATO forces would not be deployed in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Solana said that NATO has good working relations with all countries in the Caucasus region and continues to work with them on various projects.

"NATO is not getting ready to deploy any kind of military force in the region," asserted Solana–adding that NATO is not immediately involved in the peace process since the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is heading the peace process in the Karabakh conflict.

He urged all countries in the region to cooperate with each other–saying NATO has mechanism which could assist in that cooperation.

This announcement came on the heels of Azeri posturing for the involvement of NATO in the 11-year-old conflict.

The two leaders addressed the press shortly after a meeting. Kocharian is in Brussels after talks with European Union officials in Luxembourg Tuesday.

Solana told reporters that during his meeting with Kocharian–the two leaders had discussed issues of national security–the Karabakh question–Armenia’s involvement in NATO’s "Partnership for Peace" program–as well as Armenia’s participation in North Atlantic cooperation circles.

Solana expressed gratification for Kocharian’s visit to NATO headquarters–adding that the visit was not Kocharian’s first–but it was a first for Kocharian as Armenia’s president.

Kocharian said that during the meeting he expressed several options in addressing the development of the South Caucasus region. He also held a lengthy discussion with Solana on NATO’s operation in Kosovo and was briefed on the conclusion of NATO’s operations there and plans for peace in the Balkans.

Kocharian praised the meeting–saying it was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

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