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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Releases > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Fact Sheets > 2002
Fact Sheet
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Washington, DC
September 11, 2002

The United States and Nagorno-Karabakh

Background: The armed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, (N-K) lasted from 1990 to 1994. By the time a cease-fire went into effect in 1994, Armenian forces controlled most of N-K, as well as large swaths of adjacent Azerbaijani territory. The fighting plus the expulsion of Armenians from Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis from Armenia produced more than a million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Over 100,000 Azerbaijanis remain in refugee camps today, where they face desperate living conditions. Turkey closed its land border with Armenia during the conflict to show solidarity with Azerbaijan.

The parties have observed a cease-fire agreement since 1994. Although cease-fire violations and cross-border sniping occur, all sides insist on their continued commitment to a settlement reached through negotiation.

Peace Process: In 1992, the OSCE created the Minsk Group, a coalition of thirteen member states dedicated to facilitating a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group (Russia, France and the U.S.) serve as mediators, working in close and effective cooperation with the parties. In 1997-98, Co-Chair shuttle diplomacy generated three separate peace proposals. Each of these proposals was rejected by one or another of the parties.

Beginning in 1999, Presidents Aliyev and Kocharian began a direct dialogues through a series of bilateral meetings. Positive developments during a March 2001 Paris meeting between Presidents Aliyev, Kocharian and Chirac inspired Secretary of State Colin Powell to invite both Presidents to continue their dialogue the United States. Aliyev and Kocharian met with the Co-Chairs in Key West in April 2001. The sides made significant progress there, but failed to reach a comprehensive settlement. A planned follow-up meeting in Geneva in June did not occur. Presidents Aliyev and Kocharian have met on the margins of multilateral meetings in late 2001 and then met on the border between the two countries in August 2002, but failed to narrow their differences.

To supplement the direct dialogue between the Presidents and their own regular visits to the region, the Co-Chairs proposed a third negotiating track of regular meetings at the deputy minister-level to maintain communications between the parties. In May 2002, the Co-Chairs organized talks between the Presidents' Personal Representatives near Prague. A second session talks was held in late July. The Prague Talks will serve as a vehicle for continued communications between the parties as both Armenia and Azerbaijan hold presidential elections in 2003.

The U.S. as Mediator: The U.S. remains actively engaged in advancing a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Cooperation among the U.S., Russian and French mediators is excellent. The United States supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and holds that the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh is a matter of negotiation between the parties in the Minsk Process. The U.S. remains committed to finding a peaceful settlement of this conflict and is doing everything possible to help the parties achieve peace.



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