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Armenia: Azerbaijan Said To Refuse To Work On Joint Statement

Yerevan, 19 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - A spokesman for Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan says Azerbaijani officials refuse to cooperate further on drafting what is called a declaration of principles on settling the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Such a document was due to be presented and possibly signed at next month's summit meeting in Portugal of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE sponsors the peace talks that are co-chaired by Russia and Finland.

Talks that resumed today in the Finnish capital Helsinki were expected to finalize the so-called declaration.

Levon Zurabyan told our correspondent in the Armenian capital Yerevan that Armenian officials were not given a reason for the Azerbaijani decision. Zurabyan said it represented a breach of earlier agreements between the two sides.

Zurabyan said Armenia will not sign any agreements in Lisbon if they are not agreed on beforehand.

Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh erupted in 1988 after the ethnic Armenians in the enclave declared sovereignty. A ceasefire has been in effect since May 1994, but international negotiators have been unable to convert this into a final settlement.