Scottish village hosts peace talks

Representatives from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a tiny Scottish village for talks aimed at putting an end to a 10-year conflict.

    Delegates will stay at the Craigellachie Hotel

    Craigellachie in Speyside are hosting delegates from the South Caucasus region who have been feuding over a disputed territory for a decade.

    The event, at the Craigellachie Hotel, was arranged by Angus Robertson – the Scottish nationalist MP for Moray.

    Speaking to on Thursday, Robertson said his constituency was the perfect venue.

    "It is pretty common for delicate negotiations to be held in places ideally suited for discussion without interruptions."

    Golden opportunity

    As chairman of the House of Commons South Caucasus committee, Robertson added it was vital to seize the present opportunity.

    "Recent events - the change of leadership in Georgia, Azerbaijan and the oil industry - help explain why it's been pushed up the agenda."

    It is hoped the three-day talks in Speyside will help end a bloody dispute.

    Azeri troops police the capital as
    well as the troubled border

    Since the early 1990s, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been warring over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh after ethnic Armenians declared their independence from Azerbaijani rule.

    More than 30,000 people were killed and a million fled their homes during the conflict, which has destabilised the region.

    A ceasefire was signed in 1994, but the two countries remain extremely sensitive and border skirmishes still break out from time to time.

    Other issues

    Georgia was also plunged into chaos at the end of last month when president Eduard Shevardnadze resigned amid claims that parliamentary elections had been rigged.

    Political and economic issues, particularly oil issues, are expected to be on the three day agenda.

    Scotland's friendly image and the proximity of the Speyside whisky trail are said to have been factors in attracting the delegates.

    The programme of events, which begin on December 18, includes a dinner reception at the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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