By Ahto Lobjakas in Brussels

Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
Oct 5 2006

Both Azerbaijan and Armenia appear to be "playing for time" in
their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the European Union's special
representative for the South Caucasus, Peter Semneby, said on Thursday.

Semneby told the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee that
Azerbaijan in particular appears to be hoping that income from energy
exports will make it progressively 'richer and militarily stronger.'
"The rearmament is a serious issue, or concern, and I think it has
contributed to a lack of urgency, if I may formulate it that way,
on the part of Azerbaijan to seek a solution to the conflict," he said.

But, Semneby said, Armenia is similarly playing for time. He
said Yerevan is waiting to see "what the Kosovo settlement could
contribute," and "hoping the situation on the ground would cement

However, the EU envoy said the situation of the Nagorno-Karabakh
peace talks is "not completely hopeless," adding the Armenian and
Azerbaijani foreign ministers will meet this week in a fresh attempt
to break the deadlock.

Agreement on the meeting was reached during the American, French and
Russian mediators' visit to Baku and Yerevan earlier this week. The
envoys said they still hope to broker a framework peace agreement in
the coming months.