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Armenia, Azerbaijan should make concessions on territory - OSCE chief

RIA Novosti

17:3417/07/2009 BAKU, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - The OSCE secretary general said on Friday that Armenia and Azerbaijan should make concessions based on the principles set out by the Minsk Group to settle the Nagorny Karabakh conflict.

The co-chairs of the Minsk Group, the United States, Russia and France, which are mediating the territorial dispute between Baku and Yerevan, said during the G8 meeting in L'Aquila earlier this month they would submit a revised set of proposals on the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"The principles declared in L'Aquila by leaders of the states co-chairing the OSCE's Minsk Group should be acceptable to both parties in the conflict, and they should move towards rapprochement on the basis of these principles," Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said at a news conference in Baku.

"I believe today's Moscow meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, is an important step," he added.

The presidents were to hold bilateral talks in Moscow on Friday before trilateral discussions including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday.

Nagorny Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan with a largely Armenian population, has been a source of conflict between the former Soviet republics since the late 1980s. The province has its own government and is de facto independent.

According to the Minsk Group, Azerbaijan and Armenia must come to an agreement on the disputed territory of Nagorny Karabakh on the basis of the Madrid 2007 agreement.

The group also unveiled new principles for settling the dispute, including defining Nargorny Karabakh's status in regard to freedom of movement with Armenia, as well as road and rail links between the two. The group also said that security in the area be guaranteed and troops should be withdrawn.

A war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the mountainous enclave in 1988-1994 left an estimated 35,000 people dead. Sporadic violence on the border has continued ever since.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan met in Prague last month to discuss the conflict, on the sidelines of the EU's Eastern Partnership summit, and said some progress had been reached.

 



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