Agency WPS
DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia)
March 31, 2004, Wednesday

U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE RICHARD ARMITAGE'S VISIT TO THE CIS
HAS FINISHED: THE U.S. ACTIVATES ITS POLICY IN THE CAUCASUS


US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's visit to the CIS
finished on Saturday. He held negotiations with President Ilkham
Aliyev in Baku. One of the topics concerned paths to settling the
Karabakh conflict. In addition, the US Deputy Secretary of State
thanked Azerbaijan for its assistance in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the
same time, Mr. Armitage said that the US does not intend to deploy
its bases in Azerbaijan. (...)

Richard Armitage met with President Robert Kocharyan in Yerevan. He
stated that he arrived as the US president's messenger in order to
"revive a political dialogue between Washington and Yerevan". He
stated: "This visit must emphasize our interest in the
South-Caucasian region and Armenia's importance for the US."

Mr. Armitage noted that he visited Kiev, Baku and Yerevan owing to
several reasons: "I discussed issues linked with an impending
presidential election in Ukraine. I haven't visited Georgia because
we already held negotiations there. This is why I am here. I also
visit Azerbaijan because you are interested in the Karabakh problem
and the Partnership for Peace program."

The results of the visit show that the US activates its policy in the
Caucasus. Washington has already established close relations with
Georgia, and has focused on Baku and Yerevan.

(...)

Source: Kommersant, March 29, 2004, p. 9

Translated by Alexander Dubovoi