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Obama Tells Armenian, Azeri Leaders To Make Peace Deal


U.S. -- President Barack Obama speaks to soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, many of whom have just returned from Afghanistan, in Fort Drum, 23Jun2011

U.S. -- President Barack Obama speaks to soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, many of whom have just returned from Afghanistan, in Fort Drum, 23Jun2011

U.S. President Barack Obama pressed his Armenian and Azerbaijan counterparts to agree on the basic principles of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in separate phone calls made ahead of their crucial meeting in Kazan, Russia on Friday.

“President Obama strongly encouraged the two leaders to finalize and endorse the Basic Principles during their meeting with President [Dmitry] Medvedev in Kazan,” the White House said in a statement issued late on Thursday. “Once the Basic Principles are agreed to, the parties can begin negotiating a final settlement based on the Helsinki principles of non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity, and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”

“President Obama told both leaders that now is the time to resolve this conflict and to offer the people of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno-Karabakh a better future for themselves and for their children,” added the statement.

President Serzh Sarkisian was quoted by his office as assuring Obama that the Armenian side is committed to finding a “just and peaceful” solution to the Karabakh dispute. He also said that the Kazan meeting will be a success if Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev “displays a constructive approach.”

Sarkisian made a similar statement on the summit at the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on Wednesday.

Also calling for a breakthrough at Kazan was French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In a written message to Sarkisian reported by the Armenian presidential press service on Friday, Sarkozy urged the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents to show their peoples “the path of courage, wisdom and peace.”

It was not clear if Sarkozy appealed to Aliyev as well.

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