Kocharian Confirms US Offer to Meet Aliyev

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Robert Kocharian has been invited by the US government to meet his Azeri counterpart Haydar Aliev at a NATO summit in Washington later this month–his spokeswoman’said on Thursday.

"Such a proposal has been received from the American side and has not been turned down," Hasmik Petrosian told RFE/RL in a phone interview. But she said no "concrete agreement" has been reached to that effect yet. Petrosian said Kocharian has responded with his own counter-proposals regarding some details of the meeting. She did not say what those proposals are.

Kocharian and Aliev are due to attend official ceremonies in Washington marking the 50th anniversary of NATO’s formation. The Georgian news agency Caucasus Press reported that Aliev has given his consent to such a meeting.

The leaders of the two neighboring countries–which have been at loggerheads over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh–met two weeks ago in Moscow during a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States. No progress in the talks was reported.

The unresolved Karabakh conflict would top the agenda of their possible encounter in Washington. International efforts to find a peace formula for the region have so far yielded no tangible results.

Azerbaijan has rejected the most recent peace plan put forward by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The plan has largely been accepted by Armenia and Karabakh. US diplomats have said direct contacts between the conflicting parties may facilitate the search for peace.


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