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Armenia/Azerbaijan: OSCE Monitors Expected In Nagorno-Karabakh

Prague, 29 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - The head of the OSCE monitoring mission in the Azeri-Armenian conflict zone is scheduled to arrive in Nagorno-Karabakh later today to discuss with Karabakh leaders recent ceasefire violations.

The trip is significant because just last week the Organization For Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) suspended the monitoring mission after the car in which its representative was travelling was fired upon. Both sides traded blame for the incident, as they have in other instances of ceasefire violations over the past two weeks. Karabakh authorities today said they hope the OSCE can reverse its decision once the situation in the area is stable.

Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossian and Azeri President Heidar Aliyev have downplayed the violations. The two leaders met for talks yesterday in Istanbul, on the sidelines of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Conference, but reported no progress.

Meanwhile, a French foreign ministry spokesman told RFE/RL that OSCE co-chairs France, United States and Russia are meeting today in Paris. The parties were not invited to participate in today's closed door meeting and the spokesman declined to provide any further details.