Congressional Quarterly
April 7, 2006 Friday

SEAN MCCORMACK HOLDS STATE DEPARTMENT REGULAR NEWS BRIEFING


WASHINGTON, D.C.

STATE DEPARTMENT REGULAR NEWS BRIEFING

APRIL 7, 2006

SPEAKER: SEAN MCCORMACK,
ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS




[parts omitted]

QUESTION: I was looking for a readout on the Azerbaijan foreign
minister's meeting.

MCCORMACK: The secretary met with the Azerbaijan foreign minister.
They discussed a number of issues of bilateral interest, both to the
United States and Azerbaijan. They talked about Nagorno- Karabakh.
They talked about economic reform and democratization in Azerbaijan.

The secretary emphasized the importance of respect for human rights
and moving forward on the democratization process in Azerbaijan.

QUESTION: Was there any talk of a visit to the United States by the
president of Azerbaijan?

MCCORMACK: In as much as a visit to the United States by the
president of Azerbaijan might concern the White House, I'll leave it
to the White House to discuss such visits -- potential visits.

QUESTION: Nagorno-Karabakh was the very first initiative that
Secretary Powell dove into when he took office. And I was just
wondering if Secretary Rice had any inclination to become more
involved in mediating the conflict.

MCCORMACK: She actually has been very much involved in this. There
was a recent meeting in (inaudible) France where we had great hopes
that the two presidents, the Armenian and the Azerbaijani president,
would be able to come to some resolution, some agreement on the issue
of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In advance of that meeting, the secretary spoke with both of the
presidents, and she has also been very much involved with Assistant
Secretary Dan Fried, as well as others who have been working to move
this issue toward a resolution.

So she's certainly up to date on where the discussions stand. We hope
that both sides can in the wake of the talks in France again provide
some renewed impetus to those discussions and come to an agreement
that would resolve this longstanding issue.