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Armenia: President's Karabakh Position Criticized

Yerevan, 20 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Hundreds of people Friday held a meeting in the Armenian capital Yerevan to protest what they say is an overly conciliatory line by President Levon Ter-Petrosyan on Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Opposition politicians and intellectuals criticized Ter- Petrosyan's policy of supporting a step-by-step plan for Karabakh proposed by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Under that plan, Karabakh's political status would be determined after interim steps, including a return of captured territory outside the enclave to Azerbaijan.

Speakers condemned that approach, a number calling for Ter-Petrosyan's resignation. Aram Sarkisian, head of the opposition Democratic Party, called Ter-Petrosyan defeatist and said Armenians must show resolve in defending the mainly ethnic Armenian enclave.

Ter-Petrosyan's spokesman Thursday said the president is ready to accept any peace accord satisfying both Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.