During Key West Talks
For the Resolution of the Karabakh Conflict
Powell Meets Leaders Of Armenia, Azerbaijan
By Steve Gutterman
Wednesday, April 4, 2001; Page A20
KEY WEST, Fla., April 3 -- Secretary of State Colin L. Powell met with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan today, calling for "mutual compromise" to settle a dispute that set off a devastating war and threatens further conflict in the region.
Powell opened four days of talks on a peace settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian mountain enclave that moved to secede from Azerbaijan in 1988, prompting six years of fighting that killed more than 15,000 people and drove a million from their homes.
Seven years after a cease-fire, Powell said the lack of a settlement has hobbled economic development and political stability in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"Peace and stability in this region, a crossroads between Europe and Asia, is in the interest of the international community and the cause of world peace," Powell said after flying here and holding separate meetings with Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev and Armenian President Robert Kocharian.
In the past two years, the two presidents have met 16 times, but have failed to reach a resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh. A 1994 cease-fire left the enclave and some surrounding territory firmly in the hands of ethnic Armenians, who claim it is a sovereign state.
2001 The Washington Post Company