Kocharian Aliyev Discuss Karabagh Conflict in Bucharest

(RFE/RL/Armenpress)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian and his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev concluded a second round of talks aimed at resolving the Karabagh conflict–but no progress was reported.

Monday’s talks were the second time that Robert Kocharian and Ilham Aliyev met on the sidelines of the Black Sea Summit in the Romanian capital–Bucharest.

The talks were also attended by the French–Russian–and American Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group–which has overseen the peace negotiations since 1992.

Kocharian and Aliyev already had a protracted meeting on Sunday–June 4–at the Polish embassy in Romania. OSCE Chairman in Office Karel de Gucht–the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs–and the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan also attended the meeting. Afterward–the presidents met one-on-one.

The first round of negotiations lasted for over four hours.

American co-chair Steven Mann said that the meeting took place in a "very good atmosphere" but gave few details about the nature of the talks.

"The co-chairs still believe that 2006 is the window to reach an agreement regarding Karabagh–and I don’t want to characterize exactly where we might be in that process," Mann said.

Mann also said that the mediators believe that the Karabagh conflict can still be resolved this year. "The co-chairs still believe that 2006 is the window to reach an agreement regarding Karabagh," he said.

Asked whether Aliyev and Kocharian made any progress towards a peace deal–the American diplomat replied–"I would only say that we have had very–very detailed discussions."

He said that he and his two counterparts expect progress in the talks every time Armenian and Azeri leaders meet to explore ways for ending their dispute over Karabagh.

These meetings in Romania are the second time that Kocharian and Aliyev have met this year. The previous talks–held near Paris in February–failed to yield any agreement.

The Armenian and Azeri leaders also brought up the Karabagh conflict as they separately addressed a high-level forum of Black Sea nations at the summit on Monday.

"The people of Nagorno-Karabagh have implemented in practice the right to self-determination," declared Kocharian. "It was done fully in line with the requiremen’s of international law."

"We believe that there is a need for effective efforts for a full-scale integration of the [Mountainous Karabagh] Republic into the international community," he added.


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