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Azerbaijan President: Talks with Armenia Headed into New, Positive Phase

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev has expressed some optimism about the direction peace talks with Armenia have taken.

He says efforts to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan are moving into what he calls "a new, positive phase."

Though some international entities are currently involved in discussions, Mr. Aliyev is inviting other international organizations to help resolve the dispute.

Azerbaijan and Armenia are longtime adversaries with differences in ethnic, linguistic and land issues fueling their disputes. The latest conflict began in 1988 when the Armenian majority in Nagorno-Karabakh first asked Moscow to allow the region to join Armenia. Then in 1991, Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence.

Ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia drove Azerbaijani troops from the enclave during a six-year war. A cease-fire began in 1994, but the enclave's final status has not been determined.