Azerbaijani president says resolving Nagorno-Karabakh main task
"We are making every effort to solve this problem, as a result of which about a million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory has been occupied by Armenia," he said in a televised New Year's address.
The president added that he was sure that Azerbaijan would recover the territory and the refugees would be able to return home.
Last week Aliyev said that he considers direct negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia to be the key to resolving the crisis.
"I think that the settlement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will become realistic only through mutual compromise by both Baku and Yerevan," Aliyev said in an address to the nation.
"Azerbaijan thinks it important for the mutual dialogue to continue, while the OSCE (pan-European security organisation) Minsk group's mediating role is strengthened," the president added.
The OSCE Minsk group, tasked with finding a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute over the rebel enclave, hosted talks to resolve the issue last month, but the talks soon reached an impasse.
However, Aliyev blamed Armenia's uncooperative stance for the failure of OSCE-hosted talks, which remain deadlocked over Nagorny-Karabakh's future status.
"Armenia's destructive position, which the Minsk group's co-chairs -- the United States, France and Russia -- are powerless to change, does not allow the issue to be resolved," Aliyev said.
More than 30,000 people died and nearly a million people were displaced after the ethnic Armenian majority in Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous area located within Azerbaijan, launched a rebellion in 1988.
A ceasefire was signed in 1994, after Karabakh Armenians, with Yerevan's assistance, overran the region and a large swathe of Azerbaijani territory outside.
Copyright (c) 2001 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/01/2001 07:34:05
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