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Armenia: President Downplays Leak Of Karabakh Peace Plans

Yerevan, 22 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Armenian President Robert Kocharian denies any far-reaching motives behind the publication in Armenia and Azerbaijan of international proposals to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The virtually simultaneous disclosure earlier this week of the proposals made by mediators from the OSCE -- the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- fueled speculation that the authorities in Yerevan and Baku were seeking to gauge domestic public opinion before sealing a long-awaited peace deal.

Kocharian said today that Azerbaijan's decision to officially publicize the three different peace plans took him by surprise.

He also downplayed the significance of the OSCE Minsk Group documents, saying that he and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Heidar Aliev, have not discussed any of those proposals for "at least one-and-a-half years."

The two leaders have met 14 times over nearly two years to discuss ways of resolving the dispute over Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian-populated enclave inside Azerbaijan. They are due to hold another meeting in Paris early next month.

For more on this story, please see Caucasus: Azerbaijan And Armenia Detail Karabakh Peace Plan.