The conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has drained the meager resources of both countries since their independence. In a new and hopeful turn, President Haidar Aliev of Azerbaijan last week issued a public invitation to Armenian President Robert Kocharian to attend a transport conference in Baku. If Kocharian makes the trip, it would be the first visit by a leader of either country to the territory of the other since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. In Azerbaijan, where a presidential election is just weeks away, the opposition quickly made an issue out of Aliev’s willingness to meet with the “war criminal” from Armenia. Kocharian, a Karabakh native who takes a hard line on the issue, accepted the invitation on behalf of Armenia but left open the possibility that some other official might attend.