Yeltsin Calls for Karabakh Summit

STRASBOURG–Russian President Boris Yeltsin said Thursday he had agreed to a summit in Moscow with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan with US and French participation to try and settle the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

Yeltsin told reporters he discussed at length the dispute over the Caucasus territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan with French President Jacques Chirac in the French town of Strasbourg on the eve of a Council of Europe summit.

"We agreed to meet in Moscow with (Azeri) President (Gaidar) Aliyev–(Armenian) President (Levon) Ter-Petrosyan and the Americans to progress towards a solution to that problem," he told reporters outside the Strasbourg restaurant where he dined with Chirac.

Chirac’s spokeswoman’said the idea floated during the dinner was to have the Minsk group invite the Azeri and Armenian leaders to meet in Moscow.

"We can meet on the four-party basis–and invite Americans if they wish to participate. We shall try to make another step forward," Yeltsin said.

When reached for comment on Yeltsin’s proposed summit–Armenian officials said they regarded any summit meetings aimed at settling the Nagorno-Karabakh problem a step in the right direction–as long as representatives from Armenia–Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh were all invited to take part.

Armenian Foreign Ministry officials added that they had not received "any official information" about Yeltsin’s initiative–supported by Jacques Chirac–on holding a summit meeting in Moscow.

Armenian officials said the first time they had heard about the initiative was from an Itar-Tass correspondent–but that the subject could be raised at a meeting between Aliyev and Ter-Petrosyan during a meeting this afternoon in Strasbourg.

The two leaders are planning to discuss the Franco-Russian initiative for the settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. among other things.

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