During Key West Talks
For the Resolution of the Karabakh Conflict

Armenian, Azerbaijani Presidents Meet in Florida

Date: April 29, 2001
Transcript # 01042909V04

Shihab Rattansi, Zumrud Huseinova

The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia met recently in Florida to discuss negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian territory within Azerbaijan that currently is occupied by Armenia. The presidents report progress in the talks, and will meet again in June.


Shihab Rattansi, CNN Anchor: Meanwhile, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia are planning to meet in the coming months in an effort to find a solution to their ongoing territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. Battles over the ethnic-Armenian controlled territory in Azerbaijan have left 35,000 people dead, and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Earlier this month, the U.S. played host to peace talks between leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Space TV has this perspective.


Zumrud Huseinova, SPACE TV Reporter: Earlier this month, President of Aliyev of Azerbaijan and President Kocharian of Armenia met in Florida to find a peaceful solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno- Karabakh, which began in 1988 and grew into a bitter war until a cease-fire was reached between the two countries in 1994.

The work has resulted in the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory by Armenia's military, backed by Russia, and the displacement of one million Azerbaijani civilians. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the countries with the highest ratio of refugees in the world.

Since the cease-fire, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia have met more than a dozen times in two years, and mediators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been working to break the deadlock.

Following the last month's unsuccessful Paris talks between the two leaders, mediated by President Jacques Chirac of France, whose country is one of the OSC mediators, the United States and another co- chair played host to the peace process. This meeting, for the first time, was attended by all of the OSC mediators and the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell.

Colin Powell, Secretary of State: Peace and stability in this region, the crossroads between Europe and Asia, is in the interests of international community and the cause of world peace. A settlement will allow these countries to avoid a threat of renewed war.

Huseinova: Negotiators said talks in Florida with the White House were serious and useful. They said that the first step toward the peace settlement has been made, and that progress at the talks exceeded their expectations. After the talks, the two presidents met separately with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington.

Ilgar Mammadov, Polytical Analyst: There has been a made significant step forward, otherwise, George W. Bush wouldn't meet with the presidents. But, again, the content of that success or that step forward is not clear.

Huseinova: The presidents agreed to meet again in June in Geneva and to continue peace efforts. The Key West talks showed that the two leaders are interested in a peaceful solution, and that such a fair solution based on principals of international law must be found soon.

Zumrud Huseinova, Space TV Azerbaijan, for CNN WORLD REPORT.

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