U.S. Maintains Support for Minsk Group, Envoy to Baku Says

BAKU (Combined Sources)–The United States hopes that the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process will continue within the current format of the OSCE Minsk Group, U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ann Derse told reporters on Friday.

“Standing for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the United States will continue activities in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group,” she said, adding that co-chair Matt Bryza is planning a visit to Azerbaijan. “It’s a good time to resolve the Karabakh conflict, in compliance with the international law and within territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.”

Earlier, Turkish President Abdullah Gul announced his intention to mediate between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents.

“The OSCE Minsk Group failed to produce results during 17 years of its mediation,” Gul said. “Turkey-Armenia and Azerbaijan-Armenia issues are not only bilateral but also territorial. The situation in the region has changed and a resolution of the conflicts will lead to political and economic stability.”

Meanwhile, the Turkish Daily News reported Friday that Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul told journalists on board his flight to Baku Wednesday that he believes Armenia is willing to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh.

“I’ve seen in Yerevan that the Armenia’s are willing to pull out from the Azerbaijani territory,” Gul is quoted by the Turkish Daily News as saying.

According to Turkish sources, Gul said that Armenia and Azerbaijan were also willing to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Gul spoke after meeting Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, four days after becoming the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia and raised hopes of a thaw in relations in the energy-vital region. The surge in Turkish diplomatic activity since Gul’s meeting with Sarkisian also signals a resurgance of Turkish influence in the Caucasus absent since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

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