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Armenia/Azerbaijan: U.S. Studying Yeltsin's Nagorno Plan

Washington, 13 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department says it is studying the details of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's announcement Friday that Moscow plans to host a peace summit on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

Spokesman James Rubin noted that the United States is co-chair along with Russia and France of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk group that is trying to negotiate a settlement.

Rubin also says the U.S. will not comment on the views on the peace process expressed earlier last week by the leader of the ethnic Armenians in Azerbaijan's breakaway region, Arkadii Ghukasyan. In an interview, Ghukasyan said Karabakh will continue to demand a solution to the conflict that resolves all issues within one document. He rejected Armenia's acceptance of an approach that postpones a decision on Nagorno-Karabakh's status until the last phase of the peace process. Azerbaijan has also agreed to a step-by-step approach.

The Nagorno-Karabakh leadership is pressing for independence. Azerbaijan rejects independence but says it is willing to grant a large measure of self-rule.

Rubin said that while Ghukasyna discussed his views, he did not give an answer, either official or unofficial, to OSCE peace proposals. Rubin said the Nagorno-Karabakh leadership has promised an answer, and he says the U.S. we will not characterize that answer in advance.