December 11, 2006 -- An overwhelming majority of voters in Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region have approved a new pro-independence constitution.
According to official preliminary results from the December 10 referendum, as many as 98.6 percent of voters approved the constitution, which describes Nagorno-Karabakh as a sovereign state.
The predominantly Armenian enclave seceded from Soviet Azerbaijan in 1988, triggering a war that claimed about 30,000 lives.
Azerbaijan does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh's independence and has rejected the referendum as having no legal meaning.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov today warned the vote would hamper international efforts to resolve
Both the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSC) today rejected the referendum. In a statement, the OSCE's chairman in office, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, also called the vote potentially harmful to the ongoing conflict settlement process, which, he said, has shown "visible progress" and is at a "promising juncture."