Angela Merkel has offered Germany's help in forging a diplomatic solution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Baku is the chancellor's last stop on a three-day visit to the South Caucasus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that Berlin could help mediate between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia to resolve a long-running territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"Germany wants to help find peaceful solutions," the chancellor told journalists in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, adding that the conflict was a major burden on the region.
Merkel called for stronger economic cooperation with Azerbaijan as she sat down for talks with the country's president, Ilham Aliyev. The pair discussed the domestic human rights situation, the possibility of expanding energy markets to avoid dependency on Russian gas, and efforts to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous border region, officially belongs to Azerbaijan but was seized by local Armenian forces during a war in the early 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
For more than 20 years, the two countries have been locked in a bitter dispute, with occasional flare-ups in violence along the border. Azerbaijan has repeatedly threatened to take the region back by force, while Armenia says it will crush any military intervention.
Germany is a member of the Minsk group, which for years has been attempting to negotiate peace under the leadership of the US, Russia and France.
Merkel was expected to return to Berlin later Saturday.
nm/aw (Reuters, AFP, dpa)