Aliyev in Turkey for Karabakh Talks

ANKARA (Reuter)–Azerbaijan President Gaidar Aliyev met Turkish President Suleyman Demirel Monday who said new ideas would be put forth to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"Azerbaijan’s biggest problem is the Armenian violation of Nagorno-Karabakh," Aliyev–who arrived in Ankara on Monday–told reporters after a welcoming ceremony at Demirel’s residence.

Aliyev last week said he was prepared to consider building an oil pipeline through Armenia if Yerevan agreed to the return of Azeri territory neutralized by Nagorno-Karabakh self-defense forces. Armenia has given a mixed reaction to the proposal.

"New ideas for cooperation with regional countries to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh problem will no doubt be put forward," Demirel said before he started talks with Aliyev.

Azarbaijan has reiterated its support to the Turkish proposal of the oil pipeline from Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan to carry Caspian oil to Western markets–according to a joint declaration released after the talks.

Baku says this amounts to occupation of its territory by Armenia proper but Armenia’says it was not a formal party in the conflict–although it gave its ethnic kin strong moral and military support.

Turkey will soon announce a tender under which it will award a company to carry out a World Bank-sponsored feasibility study for the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project–expected to cost between $2 billion and $2.5 billion depending on the route.

The original project was designed to transport up to 45 million tons of Azeri and Kazakh offshore Caspian oil annually.

Aliyev was also scheduled to meet Turkish Prime Minster Necmettin Erbakan late Monday. He is expected to leave Turkey Wednesday.


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