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OSCE Chair Optimistic About Nagorno-Karabakh Talks

27 January 2006 (RFE/RL) — The chairman of the OSCE, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, says he believes all sides involved in the 15-year-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are showing some willingness to reach a solution.

In statements released in Vienna today, De Gucht said his visit to the region this week had left him cautiously hopeful about next month’s meeting in Paris of the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Robert Kocharian and Ilhamn Aliyev.
They will discuss a possible agreement on general principles for a settlement. It was already reviewed by the foreign ministers of the two countries in London last week.

De Gucht said there were still many stumbling blocks to be overcome but a settlement would be beneficial to both countries.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an enclave inside Azerbaijan with a mostly Armenian population. War erupted in 1991 when it broke away from Azerbaijan. Russia brokered a ceasefire in May 1994 when Armenia had captured most of the territory. The war left about 25,000 dead and about 600,000 displaced Azerbaijanis.

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