Secretary Rice Promises Increased US Effort in Karabagh Conflict

WASHINGTON–DC (Combined Sources)–During his meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Tuesday–Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov discussed the Karabagh conflict–with Rice promising to boost US effort to make the regulation process more effective.

Secretary Rice stressed that the US position on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is unchanged. Mammadyarov was reportedly satisfied with the talks.

The meeting also focused on bilateral and economic cooperation. Expressing satisfaction with the progress of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzrum projects–Rice commended Azerbaijan’s leadership in the implementation of such global projects.

Mammadyarov also met with Minsk Group’s US co-chair Steven Mann. The conversation focused on the Karabagh peace talks on the eve of an unofficial CIS summit in the Russian town of Kazan–where the Armenian and Azeri presidents are expected to meet.

Addressing representatives of the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce in the Washington based Azerbaijan Trade and Cultural Center on Wednesday–the Azeri foreign minister stressed the strategic importance of the Kars-Akhalkalak-Tbilisi-Baku railway for the South Caucasus. Mammadyarov noted that not only would the railway promote economic development in the region–but would improve direct communication between Europe and Central Asia.

During his visit–Mammadyarov held meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council–and also met with representatives of the National Democratic Institute–International Republican Institute–International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES)–and non-governmental organizations. According to Azertag newspaper–Mammadyarov spoke of the pre-election situation in Azerbaijan during the round table discussion.

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