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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Countries Trade Accusations Over Nagorno-Karabakh

By Mardiros Soghom and Hrair Tamrazian

Yerevan, Baku; 27 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Armenia and Azerbaijan are trading accusations over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Armenia's Foreign Minister Arkadi Ghukasian yesterday told a Yerevan news conference that Baku is refusing to hold further discussions on documents related to a settlement. The documents -- called declarations of principles -- were expected to be presented to next month's Lisbon summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Ghukasian also said OSCE international negotiators last week at talks in Helsinki tried to force Stepanakert to accept a future status, which is unacceptable. Ghukasian said Azerbaijan hopes its position will be supported at the summit, but he said Yerevan will veto any measure unacceptable to Karabakh.

Azerbaijan's State Foreign Policy Adviser Vafa Guluzade yesterday said Armenia is responsible for a lack of progress. But today, Guluzade was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying Baku is considering a draft of the declarations of principles offered by Armenia.

The OSCE summit was hoping to endorse the declaration of principles, leading to a lasting settlement of the Karabakh dispute. An OSCE-sponsored ceasefire halted hostilities in the Karabakh conflict more than two years ago.