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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 16:10 GMT
Leaders talk of peace in Karabakh

Mark Doyle
BBC world affair correspondent, Geneva

Armenian president, Robert Kocharyan(L) and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan
In the sidelines of a UN conference, Nargono Karabakh was discussed
The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan have said they are ready to resume dialogue over the disputed enclave of Nagorno Karabakh.

The announcement came after a meeting of Robert Kocharyan of Armenia and Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Geneva.

The two leaders are attending the world summit on the information society.

The two countries went to war over the region in the late 1980s and, although a ceasefire was signed in 1994, they are still technically at war.

Dialogue to continue

The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva - a hotel famous for bringing diplomats and world leaders together.

They emerged from their first groundbreaking talks saying they were satisfied with the encounter.

No concrete details were given, but they said they would start a fuller dialogue from now on.

Diplomats from France, Russia and the United States helped broker the meeting.

Another opportunity

The French envoy said there was now a chance of a breakthrough in this dispute.

This is partly because the new Azeri President, Ilham Aliyev - who this year took over power from his ageing father - is of the same generation as the Armenian President, Robert Kocharyan.

The international community has become increasingly interested in this part of the former Soviet Union as mineral-rich Azerbaijan and other countries in the area have exploited vast reserves of oil around the Caspian Sea.

About a million people were displaced by the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, and their resettlement as well as the future status of the territory are among the major issues to be resolved.

Country profile: Azerbaijan
08 Mar 02  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Armenia
08 Mar 02  |  Country profiles

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