/ For the Register
Published: Nov. 27, 2013 Updated: Dec. 2, 2013 9:27 a.m.
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Last week, the presidents of
Armenia and Azerbaijan met in for the first time in almost two
The summit was important, because these two countries have been involved in a “frozen conflict” for two decades, ever since signing a ceasefire in 1994.
The discussions were held under the auspices of the Minsk Group, created by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and co-chaired by the
United States, Russia
At the conclusion, the co-chairs issued a statement that the presidents had: France
• Agreed to advance negotiations toward a peaceful settlement;
• Instructed their foreign ministers to cooperate with the co-chairs to build on the work done to date, with the aim of intensifying the peace process; and,
• Agreed to meet again in the months ahead.
In addition, the co-chairs agreed to hold working sessions in
on Dec. 5-6, on the margins of an OSCE
Ministerial meeting. Kiev
For many Armenians in
Southern California with families and
friends in the affected area, progress in the talks should be welcome news. Armenia's borders with both Turkey and remain closed because of
this conflict. Azerbaijan
Armenia is the poorest country in the South Caucasus and its population has decreased 40
percent since the conflict began in 1988. A settlement to the conflict holds
the promise of greater prosperity in that country.
also has interests in the area – domestically and internationally. United States
Domestically, Armenians have been immigrating to the
since the 1890s; today, 1.4 million Americans can trace their heritage to . They
have a great interest in what happens in their ancestral homeland. Armenia
America's major ally in the Middle East, Israel, gets 60 percent of its oil imports from .
European allies, including Azerbaijan Greece
and Italy, are patiently
awaiting the construction of the Trans Anatolian Pipeline that will bring
desperately needed natural gas from to their countries. Azerbaijan
A renewal of the fighting could threaten these important economic lifelines. In addition, approximately 40 percent of all air freight for our troops in
Afghanistan transit . Azerbaijan
This route, called the Northern Distribution Network, will be crucial in the withdrawal of our troops from
Azerbaijani troops have fought side by side with Americans in both Afghanistan Iraq and . Afghanistan