Aliyev Says No Room for Karabagh Compromise

(AP)–President Ilham Aliyev emphasized Saturday that Azerbaijan is not ready for any compromise with Armenia over Karabagh–saying that land held by ethnic Armenian forces is occupied Azeri territory and cannot be the subject of bargaining.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan will not change its position on the enclave. "There can be no talk of mutual compromises. That was a mistaken thesis," Aliyev told journalists–apparently referring to statemen’s by international mediators who have said compromise is necessary to settle the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Azeri officials fear that a settlement plan could call on their country to cede territory. In addition to Karabagh–ethnic Armenian forces hold a swath of Azeri territory outside the enclave.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan is not willing to cede territory he called occupied. "The only thing we can do" is discuss security guarantees for ethnic Armenia’s who would be allowed to live in Karabagh if it were placed under Azeri control–he said.

No settlement has been reached over Karabagh and tension remains high–keeping the threat of a new war alive.

Aliyev said he would not oppose a new meeting with President Robert Kocharian to discuss the dispute–but said that the countries’ foreign ministers would have to make progress toward a potential solution before a meeting can be held. Progress is contingent on Armenia taking a "constructive position," he said.

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