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Azerbaijan, Armenia Work On New Peace Plan

Baku/Prague, 11 June 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov says Azerbaijani and Armenian negotiators are taking a new approach to settling their dispute over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In an interview today with RFE/RL's Azerbaijani service, Mammadyarov said Baku and Yerevan are working on a plan that will include elements from each side's previous proposals.

"Azerbaijan stands for a step-by-step approach, and the Armenian side stands for a package approach. What we are right now working on is to try to pick up from each approach ideas that would be acceptable to both sides and put them into one basket," Mammadyarov said.

Mammadyarov was referring to Baku's insistence that ethnic Armenian troops withdraw from all Azerbaijani lands they have been occupying since the 1994 cease-fire agreement before negotiating the status of Karabakh. Yerevan wants both issues to be resolved simultaneously.

Mammadyarov did not elaborate on the negotiations, saying confidentiality is needed to ensure the good continuation of peace talks.

The Azerbaijani envoy is due to meet his Armenian counterpart Vardan Oskanian later this month in the Czech capital Prague.