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Nagorno-Karabakh: Negotiaions To Resume This Weekend

Munich, 12 June 1997 (RFE/RL) --- International negotiators return to Armenia and Azerbaijan this weekend to continue efforts to resolve the deadlocked dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. They will be seeking answers to proposals presented by a top-level delegation from the U.S., Russia and France at the end of May.

A spokesman said a joint U.S., Russian and French team will arrive in Armenia tomorrow. It will include Valentin Lozinsky of Russia, Georges Vaugier of France and the new U.S. negotiator Lynnn Pascoe. They will meet Government leaders in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh to hear their views on the proposals.

A diplomat close to the negotiations said said today he doubted whether any side would give a clear "yes" to the new ideas. He said the negotiators would be happy if the three sides agreed the new proposals could be a basis for further negotiations.

Last month's proposals were put to the three sides by U.S. deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, the director of security affairs at the French foreign ministry Jacques Blot and the head of the Russian team dealing with nagorno-Karabakh, Valentin Lozinsky. They are intended to re-start the negotiations which broke down in November last year after months of deadlock.

None of the proposals have been officially published. However reports have suggested that they include the withdrawal of Armenian forces from some captured Azeri territory.

Diplomats said today that the basic proposals included many elements which had been suggested perviously. They said some of the ideas had just been pacakged differently and might be more attractive now.

The proposals also renew the offer made by the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe in 1995 to send an international peacekeeping force to the region.

Nagorno-karabakh is an enclave largely populated by ethnic Armenians inside Azerbaijan. Fighting erupted when it declared independence in 1988. A ceasefire was arranged in 1994 but little progress has been made on achieving a political settlement.