Ghoukassian Pushes Peace Talks

YEREVAN (Agence France Presse)–Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian Friday called for a resumption of stalled peace talks with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Ghoukassian–speaking on Armenian television–said negotiations over the territory’s seven-year war for independence from Baku were the only means of achieving a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

"I am certain that Azerbaijan will be forced to start negotiations and sit at the negotiating table with us–because there is no other alternative," he said–while insisting that Karabakh’s demand for autonomy from Baku would not be sacrificed.

"We want to take part in negotiations to protect our independence. There is a big risk in starting negotiations because talks mean compromises–but we are prepared to start talks and get on the road to a compromise."

Talks overseen by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe since the signing of a circumspect peace treaty in 1994 have failed to produce concrete results.

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