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Azerbaijan: OSCE Proposes Troika To Co-Chair Minsk Group

By Rovshan Aliev

Prague, 4 February 1997 (RFE/RL) -- A representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has proposed adding the United States to the chairmanship of the negotiating group attempting to settle the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Susan Christiansen made the proposal last night in a meeting with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov. Azerbaijan continues to object to the OSCE's original proposal of having France and Russia co chair the group. This has stalled negotiations aimed at resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for the past two months.

Hasanov last week asked France to withdraw its co-chair candidacy altogether. He suggested that Russia and the United States be made the sole co-chairs. But Christiansen told RFE/RL today that there was no alternative to her "troika" proposal.

An OSCE-sponsored ceasefire ended hostilities in May of 1994 in the mainly ethnic Armenian enclave located in Azerbaijan. But the eleven-state Minsk group has been unable to convert this into a permanent peace.