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Armenian President Praises Progress on Turkey Talks


Armenia's president told the United Nations General Assembly Thursday that "the time has come" to solve Armenian-Turkish problems.

Serzh Sargsyan praised the outcome of a recent meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, saying Mr. Gul shares his determination to move quickly and resolutely in that direction.

Turning to another regional conflict, Mr. Sargsyan criticized what he called Azerbaijan's "belligerent" stance on the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Nevertheless, he vowed to continue negotiations with Azerbaijan to seek recognition of the largely Armenian-inhabited region, which he characterized as effectively independent.

The Armenian president also denounced the recent bloodshed in the South Caucasus, which he said threatened the entire region and beyond. He said the General Assembly must work to modernize its institutions and prevent a return to Cold War-era divisions.

Ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh area declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1988, triggering a six-year conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. A cease-fire was declared in 1994, but sporadic exchanges of gunfire continue. The conflict has claimed 35,000 lives.

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev recently met with his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev, and called on Russia to continue what he called its "active role" in settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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