(AP) - The foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan said Wednesday that they saw hopeful signs recently in the drive to find a settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"Now there is certain progress and we have chances to reach an agreement on this issue," the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov as saying.
His Armenian counterpart Vartan Oskanian stressed, "The people of Nagorno-Karabakh should have the right to self-determination," ITAR-Tass reported. "Other problems are to cope with the consequences of the conflict, settle territorial claims and return refugees," he added.
The three ministers met in Moscow on Wednesday, along with representatives of the United States and France, which together with Russia are mediating negotiations on settling the conflict. They also discussed arrangements for a meeting Saturday
between Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev on the sidelines of a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Russia's Volga River city of Kazan.
An Azerbaijani serviceman who had been detained in Armenia was sent home Wednesday, the International Red Cross announced in Geneva. It said it had helped repatriate 652 people involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since 1992.