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Azerbaijan/Armenia: Azerbaijan Rejects Statement On Karabakh

Baku, 13 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- A top Azerbijani official involved in negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute says Baku rejects a statement by Armenia's President Levon Ter-Petrosyan that agreement on Karabakh's status can be postponed.

The Azerbaijani official, speaking to RFE/RL on the condition of anonymity, said Baku has received no such proposal at negotiations. He said that even if proposed, Baku's position remains unchanged -- that it will offer Karabakh only enhance autonomy within Azerbaijan.

Ter-Petrosyan yesterday was quoted as saying the status of Karabakh can be postponed for a long time, but that what he called an "interim solution" should be reached so that Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh could develop normal economic activity.

Ter-Petrosyan also suggested that Azerbaijan's oil industry would not develop to its full potential until the dispute is resolved.

International negotiators will meet this month again to try to draft a basic statement of principles on turning a 28-month-old ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict into a permanent settlement. A new round of negotiations is expected next month, after the presidential election in Armenia.