REYKJAVIK, (Reuters) - Turkey on Wednesday initiated new talks between Caucasus rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan to help bring a settlement to their long-running territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"The ministers elaborated ways of addressing existing security and regional cooperation problems and emphasised the importance of resolution of conflicts in this region," Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said after the trilateral meeting.
Cem's talks with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan were held on the sidelines of a NATO conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.
He said the three ministers considered their meeting a "useful step forward" and they agreed to hold further talks in the near future on the margins of an international meeting. He did not elaborate.
The two Caucasus countries have been locked in a conflict over the mainly ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inside the borders of Azerbaijan.
"We think we need to continue to talk with each other on issues of common interest and with regard to the problems that face the region, the Caucasus, in general," Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told a brief news conference.
The talks lie outside the framework of the so-called Minsk Group set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to try to address the Nagorno-Karabakh question. The Minsk Group is chaired jointly by the United States, Russia and France.