Sweden Hosts Armenian Foreign Minister

STOCKHOLM (DPA)–Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt held talks Friday with visiting Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.

Bildt said he welcomed the joint declaration this week by the presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to seek a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, referring to the breakaway region claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Bildt said the recent war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia showed the danger that so-called "frozen conflicts never stay frozen." The Swedish foreign minister said he hoped to visit Yerevan before Sweden takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union in July 2009.

In a speech organized by the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Nalbandian said that the conflict in Georgia was a "matter of grave concern" for Armenia. As a neighbouring state, 70 per cent of Armenia’s transits go through Georgia so "any major event in Georgia, echoes in Armenia," he said.

The meeting of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow was "a step forward," Nalbandian said. Nalbandian also noted that while the ramifications of conflict in Georgia were yet to be assessed, it had sent a signal that "war is never an answer."

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