Aliyev Says 2000 Will Bring Nagorno Karabakh Peace

ANKARA (AP–Armenpress)–Azeri President Haydar Aliyev said Monday that he hoped this year would bring peace to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Before leaving Turkey–Aliyev said the ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan was main topic of talks with Turkish leaders during his two-day visit.

"I hope the year 2000 will bring peace” to Nagorno-Karabakh–Aliyev was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

A 1994 truce ended fighting between Armenian-backed separatists and Azeri government forces–but a peace accord has yet to be signed.

Aliyev also discussed progress in the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.

Framework agreemen’s were signed in November for the pipeline–which would link the Azeri capital of Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan through Georgia and become the main export route for the rich Caspian Sea reserves.

Demirel said Turkey gave great importance to the realization as soon as possible of the US-backed pipeline.

Demirel is scheduled to visit Georgia on Friday. Georgia is asking for additional guarantees against accidents on the section of the pipeline running through its territory–Russia’s Itar-Tass agency reported

After many years of interruption–Baku may give its consent to the resumption of transport and cross-border communication between Turkey and Armenia–reported Russian Interfax agency.

Aliyev announced in Baku Sunday before departing for Turkey for a brief visit that he will discuss ways of reopening transport routes between Turkey and Armenia with his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Demirel.

The issue will be discussed within the framework of Azeri-Turkish consultations on a Karabakh settlement–Aliyev said–noting that because of the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia–Turkey currently has no diplomatic relations with Armenia. There is also no transport link between Turkey and Armenia.

According to Aliyev–he repeatedly discussed the issue with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian during recent direct talks.

He said that Armenia is interested in re-opening the many highways and railroads crossing its border with Turkey–and that Yerevan has repeatedly proposed that Ankara resume work on transport communications.

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