Azerbaijanis End Strike, Say Most Of Demands Met

Posted: September 12, 1989

MOSCOW — Workers in the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan ended a week-long strike yesterday that had been called by the Azerbaijanis as part of a long-running ethnic struggle for control of the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Leaders of the Azerbaijan People's Front, a nationalist group that called a republic-wide strike more than a week ago, said on television Sunday night that most of their political demands had been met, local activists and journalists said.

The People's Front will be officially recognized and allowed to speak at a special session of the republic's Supreme Soviet legislature on Friday, group spokesman Ekhtibar Mamedov said.

The legislature is to address the strikers' main demand, the return of the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control, Mamedov said, speaking by phone from Azerbaijan's capital, Baku.

Armenians and Azerbaijanis have been locked in a dispute over the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh for more than 18 months. The conflict has cost 100 lives and forced thousands to flee their homes.

Nagorno-Karabakh is in Azerbaijan but is inhabited mainly by ethnic Armenians who want the area to be united with neighboring Soviet Armenia. The Popular Front has demanded that the area be returned to full Azerbaijani control.

The Soviet government took the region under its direct control last winter in an attempt to calm the area, but both sides continue to press their claims to it.

Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh have appealed to the United Nations to send troops if necessary to guarantee their security, an Armenian journalist said Saturday.

Azerbaijan's idled railroads resumed operating yesterday, and workers at all enterprises went back to work, journalist Nazim Ragimov said from Baku.

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