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Yugoslavia: OSCE Urges Kosovo Parties To Resolve Disputes Peacefully

By Lisa McAdams and Harry Tamrazian

Oslo, 3 December 1998 (RFE/RL) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) today issued a statement urging all sides in the Kosovo conflict to stop fighting and resolve their differences by peaceful means. The statement also urges Yugoslav and Serbian authorities, as well as all Kosovo Albanians, to cooperate with each other so a serious political dialogue can begin. The OSCE also today urged parties involved in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in the Caucasus to resume negotiations within the framework of the OSCE Minsk group.

The Kosovo statement was released at the end of the OSCE's annual ministerial council meeting in Oslo, Norway. RFE/RL's correspondent in Oslo quotes Geremek as saying the document on Kosovo sends a clear signal about the commitment of all 54 OSCE member states to a political settlement in the Serbian province.

Concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, Geremek called on the OSCE Minsk group to continue mediation efforts and search for a solution. He said resolution could bring lasting peace and stability to the southern Caucasus region.

Meanwhile, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian today said Azerbaijan's government has not taken a single step toward compromise. Oskanian said Baku does not want to take the responsibility for peace. His remarks follow criticisms of the OSCE raised by Tofiq Zulfiqarov, Azerbaijan's foreign minister. Zulfiqarov said yesterday that the latest OSCE proposals violate Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Also today, OSCE foreign ministers called for reinvigorated talks on Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniestr region.

RFE/RL's correspondent quotes the ministers as saying negotiations should be intensified through the OSCE mission to Moldova using Russian and Ukrainian mediators.

In a statement, the OSCE ministers said negotiations on the status of Trans-Dniestr had "languished." The ministers urged both parties to intensify talks that are aimed at consolidating the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, as well as reaching an understanding on the status of Trans-Dniestr.