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Russia wants to act as a guarantor of Karabakh settlement


Harry Tamrazian

Russian presidential administration deputy head Sergei Prikhodko told ITAR-TASS today that if Presidents Robert Kocharian and Heidar Aliyev find a compromise solution to the Karabakh conflict, Russia is ready to act as a guarantor of the settlement. Prikhodko said that there is some progress in this issue, but the main problem is that the people in Armenia and Azerbaijan are not yet ready for a peace settlement.

Prikhodko believes that the Karabakh conflict can be solved only if there is public support for peace in both Armenia and Azerbaijan. He told ITAR-TASS that Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet today with Heidar Aliyev and Robert Kocharian in Minsk on the sidelines if the CIS summit.

The meeting between the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, has ended. Speaking to the journalists in Minsk today, Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov said that there will be no breakthrough in Minsk on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks. "We are making great efforts to find a solution to this most complicated problem," Ivanov said. "We inherited this problem....No one else will solve it. This first of all concerns the Armenian
and Azerbaijani peoples, but we as friends and brothers ... can and
will provide assistance." According to Ivanov, there can be no stability in the North Caucasus region if there is no stabiliy in the South.

Speaking to reporters at Baku Airport before leaving for Minsk, Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev denied that he asked the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs to postpone the Geneva talks scheduled for next month. Aliev said he thinks the Minsk summit of the Caucasus leaders will decide whether the Geneva talks will be held in June as originally planned.

Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev expressed confidence that the talks on Nagorno-Karabakh would be productive. The Azerbaijani president said that the idea of U.S. to start economic cooperation between Armenia and Azerbaijan before settling the conflict is unacceptable for his country.
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