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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Yeltsin Wants Nagorno-Karabakh Summit

Strasbourg, 10 October 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin said today that he has agreed to host a summit in Moscow with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to try to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Yeltsin spoke with reporters in the French city of Strasbourg, where he is attending a Council of Europe summit. He said he discussed the issue at dinner last night with French President Jacques Chirac.

Yeltsin said the Minsk Group would invite the Azeri and Armenian leaders to the Russian capital to "progress toward a solution to that problem." Russia, the U.S. and France co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

There has been no word on the meeting from either Armenia or Azerbaijan. Chirac is due to meet both Azeri President Heidar Aliyev and Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan over the next few days.

A spokesman for Armenia's foreign ministry said yesterday that his country has accepted a proposal by the Minsk Group to resolve the conflict on a "step-by-step" basis. But spokesman Arsen Gasparyan told RFE/RL that the order in which the issues will be discussed must still be agreed. Azerbaijan has already agreed to the step-by-step plan put forward by the OSCE.