Azerbaijan Continues Contacts with OSCE Over Nagorno Karabakh

BAKU (Itar-Tass)–Azeri authorities continue active consultations with the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh to work out ways of settling the Armenian-Azeri conflict.

Azeri Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov told OSCE special envoy Andrzej Kasprczek Monday that Azerbaijan supports the initiatives put forth by Russia–the United States and France which proposed a two-stage solution to the conflict–and hopes for progress in the peacemaking process during the next visit to the region by an OSCE mission.

The mission is expected to arrive in the region today or Thursday.

Kasprczek believes the visit will be the last one this year.

He stressed the importance of contacts established by the OSCE chairman-in-office–the Minsk Group and the High Planning Group which was set up three years ago in order to disengage the warring factions and carry out a peacekeeping operation in the area of the Armenian-Azeri conflict.

The High Planning Group operates at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna and consists of 10 experts from 10 European countries–including Russia.

Kasprczek–who makes these contacts and monitors the situation in the region once in four months–said the Polish foreign minister will take over OSCE presidency on January 1–1998.

He will replace his Dutch counterpart whose performance is to be discussed by the OSCE Foreign Ministers’ Council in Copenhagen in mid-December.

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