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Azerbaijan: President Accuses OSCE Of Disregarding Concerns

By Mirza Michaeli

Prague, 5 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Azerbaijan's President Heydar Aliyev says Baku's concerns were ignored when the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) proposed France serve as an additional chair to the negotiating group trying to broker peace in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Our correspondent says Aliyev reiterated his country's objection's to the OSCE proposal in a meeting with OSCE officials yesterday in Baku.

Aliyev said he would rather see the United States or Germany co-chair the group with Russia. Observers say Azerbaijan considers French foreign policy to be too pro-Armenia and therefore doubts whether it can play the role of mediator. The dispute has stalled talks aimed at ending the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for the past two weeks.

Late Monday night, OSCE representative Susan Christiansen proposed the United States be added but as part of a troika of chairmans, an idea that Aliyev today rejected.

But Christiansen told RFE/RL yesterday that there was no alternative to her "troika" proposal.

An OSCE-sponsored ceasefire ended hostilities in May of 1994 in the mainly ethnic Armenian enclave located in Azerbaijan. But the eleven-state Minsk group has been unable to convert this into a permanent peace.