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Nagorno-Karabakh: Presidential Elections Set For September

Erevan, 19 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The separatist parliament in Nagorno-Karabakh has announced presidential elections in the ethnic Armenian enclave will be held on September 1.

Itar-Tass reported today that the decision was reached last night in the enclave's self-declared capital, Stepanakert.

The post has been vacant since March when Nagorno-Karabakh's self-styled President Robert Kocharyan was appointed Prime Minister of Armenia. The republic's self-proclaimed prime minister, Leonard Petrosyan, has held the post on an interim basis since then.

Azerbaijan objected to the naming of Kocharyan as Armenian prime minister, saying it refuted Erevan's claim that it is neutral in the dispute over the ethnic Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan's territory.

Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out in 1988 when the enclave declared independence from Azerbaijan. A ceasefire took effect in 1994, but there has been little progress toward a final settlement.