Russia sees Azerbaijan, Armenia moving on Karabakh issue

A breakthrough in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would smooth the way for the restoration of ties between Armenia and Turkey.

Russia sees Azerbaijan, Armenia moving on Karabakh issue

Azerbaijan and Armenia have moved closer towards resolving a two-decade dispute over the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

The presidents of the two Caucuses nations held constructive talks on Thursday about the region, the U.S. embassy in Chisinau said after hosting the meeting.

A breakthrough in the conflict, in which Christian Armenians imposes control the area that is within Muslim Azerbaijan's recognised borders, would smooth the way for the restoration of ties between Armenia and Turkey.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev and Armenia's Serzh Sarksyan during a summit on Friday of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a group of most former Soviet republics.

"Solving Nagorno-Karabakh is a key issue. Advances are being made step by step and with every meeting the positions move closer," Lavrov told reporters when asked about Medvedev's meeting with the two leaders.

Armenia and Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, are due to meet in Zurich on Saturday to sign an accord that would pave the way for normal relations.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is due to attend the Zurich signing ceremony. Turkish officials say to move forward on this, Armenia and Azerbaijan must make progress on the disputed region.

Ethnic Armenians in the region fought for several years against Azeris at the end of the 1980s on the eve of the Soviet Union's disintegration.

Azeri land has been under Armenian occupation in early 1990s in which nearly 30,000 people died and 2 million were forced to flee their homes.

Turkey shut its borders to Armenia in 1993 in protest and solidarity with Azerbaijan.

Reuters

Last Mod: 09 Ekim 2009, 17:28
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