Aliyev Kocharian to Meet Without Mediators

BAKU (Armenpress)–Azeri President Heydar Aliyev announced last Friday he would try to achieve a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict–Itar-Tass reported.

Aliyev made the announcement during a meeting with residents of his native Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic–an exclave in northwest of Azerbaijan–where he is set to meet with his Armenian counterpart President Kocharian on August 14.

"I do not want war–I want to resolve the Karabakh problem by peaceful means–through talks–so that blood would not be spilled and young men will not be killed," Aliyev said.

Aliyev also made a statement indicating that he is confident in his victory in the upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan in 2003. "I have held the post of the president of Azerbaijan for nine years–and God willing–will hold it for a long time," he said.

The recurrent meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan–which is going to take place on August 14 at an Armenian-Azeri border section in Nakhichevan–will not be mediated by the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk group–the only authorized peace brokers body to help the sides to end their confrontation over Nagorno Karabakh–according to a Baku-based Russian language "Zerkalo," which cited Russian co-chairman Nikolay Gribkov.

Gribkov said neither he nor French and American co-chairmen were informed about the August 14 meeting. The arrangement was made through direct Aliyev-Kocharian channels–he said–adding that the meeting will proceed without Minsk group co-chairs.

Gribkov refused to speak about what the meeting could produce–but "Zerkalo," citing–"a very well-placed information source," claimed the meeting may result in the liberation of 4 or 5 Azeri regions–adjacent to Karabakh and now under the control of Armenian troops of Nagorno Karabakh–in return for which the railway Nakhichevan-Meghri- Baku may open.

The paper also says that the meeting is also intended to demonstrate to the international community that the two presidents are resolute to end the long-running opposition to "disperse the recently articulated harsh announcemen’s from both sides."

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