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Azerbaijan: OSCE To Rekindle Karabakh Talks

Yerevan, 6 March 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Jaime Gama, the chairman of the OSCE, says the OSCE Minsk group of international negotiators will soon present new proposals aimed at reviving talks over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Gama made the comment yesterday on a visit to Armenia's capital Yerevan.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed mainly ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

Gama, who is also Portugal's foreign minister, did not elaborate on the proposals but said they will be brought to the region next week.

Gama met yesterday with Armenian President Robert Kocharian as well as Arkady Ghoukasian, the leader of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Kocharian has said Nagorno-Karabakh -- which is controlled by ethnic Armenians -- will never be a part of Azerbaijan.

Backed by Armenia, separatists won control of the disputed enclave and some adjacent regions of Azerbaijan in a 1988-1994 war.

The conflict led to the deaths of more than 30,000 people and drove one million people from their homes.

Gama is scheduled to meet today in Tbilisi with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and other top officials. The OSCE chairman is scheduled to travel on to Azerbaijan tomorrow, where he will meet in Baku with government leaders.