BAKU (Associated Press)–Azeri President Heydar Aliev pledged Thursday that the nation would regain control of the Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh enclave and refugees would be permitted to return to their homes.
"On this holiday–I assure our people that occupied Azerbaijani lands will be liberated–Azerbaijan’s state independence will be restored and our fellow citizens–refugees–will return to their permanent places of residence," Aliev said during a ceremony commemorating Nowruz–the Persian new year.
Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian–meanwhile–called for self-determination for Karabakh. There must be a "generally acceptable solution" based on willingness to compromise by his own country and Azerbaijan–said Oskanian at the Permanent Council of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The population of Karabakh must not "perpetually live in economic uncertainty–and has the right to freedom and prosperity," he said.