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    Azerbaijan says Karabakh conflict to end if Armenia withdraws 'occupation forces' from region

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    Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said the long-standing Nagorny Karabakh conflict can be easily settled if Armenia withdraws its "occupation forces" from the disputed area, Novosti-Azerbaijan news agency reported on Tuesday.

    The long-standing Nagorny Karabakh conflict can be easily settled if Armenia withdraws its "occupation forces" from the disputed area, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said, Novosti-Azerbaijan news agency reported on Tuesday.

    During a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, Aliyev said Armenia and Azerbaijan were in the final stages of talks. The two countries have discussed several ways of settling the dispute over the territory in the last five or six years.

    One possible solution proposed by Azerbaijan to the problem is withdrawal of Armenian "occupation forces" from the occupied Azeri regions,  and letting people return to the motherland, Novosti-Azerbaijan cited Aliyev as saying.

    "In order to ensure safety in the region, a peacekeeping contingent should be deployed there," Aliyev said, adding the conflict may be settled soon if Armenia complies with all international resolutions.

    Gul expressed his support for a settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

    "Undoubtedly, the conflict should be resolved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan...since international law cannot positively regard any form of violation of the UN-accepted state borders by another state," Gul said.

    On June 18, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and President Aliyev discussed the Nagorny Karabakh issue in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg.

    During the talks, Sargsyan and Aliyev agreed to continue negotiations on the basis of the OSCE Madrid principles adopted in November 2007. They envisage a stage-by-stage resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict that would start with the gradual liberation of parts of Azerbaijan bordering Karabakh that were partly or fully occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces during the brutal war over the region in early 1990s.

    The conflict over Nagorny Karabakh first erupted in 1988, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan  and sought support from Armenia. The 1991-94 war claimed more than 30,000 lives on both sides. Karabakh has since remained under Armenian control.

     

    BAKU, August 17 (RIA Novosti)

     

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