Azeri President Calls for Peaceful Settlement

NAKHICHEVAN (ITAR-TASS)–Azeri President Heydar Aliyev will try to achieve a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. President Aliyev announced this at a meeting with residents of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic–an exclave in northwest of Azerbaijan.

The 79-year old Azerbaijani president–who is having another round of face-to-face meeting with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian on August 14 at the Armenian-Azeri border section was quoted by the Russian Itar-Tass news agency saying that "the so-called elections in Nagorno Karabakh will not have any impact on the upcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani talks on the Karabakh settlement."

Aliyev said–"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 would not be killed." He made this statement three days prior to a round of direct talks with Armenian President Robert Kocharian–which will take place on August 14 on the border of two states in the Sadarak district of the republic.

President 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.

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