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No Progress Reported After Yet Another Aliev-Kocharian Meeting


BAKU, (AFP/AP) - The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia held talks Sunday evening but gave no sign of a breakthrough in their long-running dispute over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azeri television reported.

Azeri President Heydar Aliev and his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharian had one-to-one talks lasting two hours in Moldova's capital Chisinau on the fringes of a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a grouping of former Soviet republics. Emerging to speak to reporters, they said they could not reveal details of their discussion about Karabakh, citing the sensitivity of the peace process, but said they were agreed on the need to meet again.

"I cannot say that there are any definite results. Those we do not have yet", Kocharian was quoted as saying by Azerbaijan's Lider television station, which had a correspondent at the talks.

The television station quoted Aliev as saying: "Resolving this conflict is a very important process and therefore I believe that bilateral negotiations should continue."

Afterwards the two presidents briefed envoys from the Minsk Group, a body mandated by the international community to help tease out a solution to the Karabakh conflict, on their talks.

Aliev and Kocharian held four hours of talks in western Azerbaijan in August -- the first one-to-one meeting between the two leaders in a year -- breaking a deadlock in the peace process. Then they did not reveal what they had talked about but said they were pleased with the meeting and hoped to build on the progress made there.

They could meet again as soon as October 13 when both Aliev and Kocharian are expected in the Turkish city of Istanbul for another regional summit.

Meanwhile, about 10,000 protesters took to the streets of the Azerbaijani capital Baku on Saturday, criticizing President Heydar Aliev for failing to solve any of the nation's problems and calling for his resignation. They criticized Aliev for failing to resolve the Karabakh conflict, demanding forceful measures to "free" Karabakh, which they called "occupied territory." They said recent hawkish coverage of the dispute in state-run media was just a smoke screen to detract attention from the government's inactivity.
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