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Armenia/Azerbaijan: Both Sides Accused Of Border Violations

Yerevan, 12 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Azerbaijan and Armenia today accused each other of ceasefire violations during the weekend along their common border.

An unnamed Armenian Defense Ministry official told RFE/RL today that Azeri ground forces launched pre-dawn strikes yesterday on Armenian positions in the northeast Armenian region of Tavoush.

The official said about 80 Azeri soldiers had taken part in the attack from within their territory. He said firing came to a halt after 17 Azeri soldiers were killed when Armenian troops returned fire.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said one soldier was injured when Armenian forces shelled border positions about 400 kilometers west of Baku. Azerbaijan's Turan news agency reports that Azeri forces returned the fire and suppressed the attack.

Neither report could be independently confirmed.

Cross-border exchanges of artillery fire between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been reported on an almost daily basis during the past two months. A round of peace talks is expected to take place in the U.S. later this month.