Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Promotes A Cease-Fire in Azerbaijan

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Promotes A Cease-Fire in Azerbaijan

Article excerpt

THE United States on Aug. 30 pushed for the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan to accept a temporary cease-fire plan in its war with Armenia, a day after a no-confidence referendum was held on the country's fugitive president.

Washington still considers Abulfaz Elchibey the legal president of Azerbaijan, State Department spokesman Michael McCurry said, even though Mr. Elchibey fled the capital city of Baku last June.

Azeris flocked to the polls Aug. 29, and early returns showed more than 90 percent voted against Elchibey. The vote was seen as formally removing Elchibey from power after an armed rebellion in June.

Critics blame Elchibey for Azerbaijani defeats in the undeclared war against Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The vote paves the way for new presidential elections, which former Communist leader Geidar Aliyev said would take place within three months, as stipulated in Azerbaijan's Constitution. Mr. Aliyev has stood as acting president since June.

Mr. McCurry said the US is pres-sing Azerbaijan to accept a proposal for a temporary cease-fire, withdrawal from recently occupied territories, deployment of international monitors, and resumption of negotiations. …

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