NAGORNO-KARABAKH TO DETERMINE ITS STATUS BY REFERENDUM - BRYZA

Interfax News Agency
Aug 1 2008
Russia

MOSCOW. Aug 1 (Interfax) - Nagorno-Karabakh residents will decide
for themselves whether the republic will be under Azeri control or
be independent, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and co-chairman
of the OSCE Minsk Group Matthew Bryza said after the meeting between
the Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers in Moscow.

Nagorno-Karabakh residents will make their decision at a referendum,
he said.

It is important to have bilateral relations based on trust and a
political will, he said. Bryza warned against blocking the talks.

The co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Yuri Merzlyakov, noted an
active role of the group in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

"The current process - the meetings between the presidents, foreign
ministers, means that the Minsk Group acts normally, and the sides to
the conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan, have a constructive attitude
toward each other," Merzlyakov said after the meeting between the
Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers in Moscow.

Baku has lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent
districts in the course of a bloody conflict that began in the 1990s
between the Armenians and Azeris who fought for control over Nagorno-
Karabakh. As a result, about a million Azeris became refugees and were
forced to relocate. The UN Security Council slammed the seizure of
the Azeri territory and demanded a withdrawal of the Armenian forces.

Currently, talks on this problem are underway. The OSCE Minsk Group
co-chairmen representing Russia, the U.S. and France are seeking a
settlement of the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh.