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2/11/06

Armenian, Azerbaijani Presidents End Karabakh Talks

PARIS, 11 February 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Robert Kocharian and Ilham Aliyev, today ended talks aimed at ending the 18-year-old territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

RFE/RL correspondents reported that both leaders have left Rambouillet castle, near Paris, without commenting on the outcome of the talks.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is mediating the negotiations, is expected to release a statement later today.

Officials close to the talks told RFE/RL the two presidents will meet again at a date and venue that remain to be determined.

Kocharian and Aliyev began direct discussions on 10 February after meeting separately with French President Jacques Chirac.

In the run-up to the summit, diplomats expressed guarded optimism that progress could be made toward a framework for settling the Karabakh dispute, which has claimed at least 25,000 lives and driven more than a million people from their homes.

(RFE/RL's Armenian and Azerbaijani services)


Copyright (c) 2006 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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