The World This Week: Azeri and Armenian PMs to meet for peace talks

AS THE war in the Transcaucasus threatens to assume Balkan proportions, the prime ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are to hold peace talks in Moscow on Tuesday, with the possible mediation of Boris Yeltsin. Both sides said they would attend, but the negotiations look likely to be overshadowed by fighting in the region.

Turkey, which considers Armenia to be the guilty party, is sending President Turgut Ozal on a three-day visit to Baku, the Azeri capital, on Tuesday. Ankara has warned that Turkey is ready to 'defend' Azerbaijan.

Luanda will present three conditions for continuing peace talks with the Unita rebels when the two sides resume their meeting today in Ivory Coast. Jonas Savimbi's group must respect the 1991 peace accord, the UN-brokered elections won by the ruling MPLA last year and UN resolutions on Angola, a government spokesman said.

In Bosnia, the fighting is unlikely to stop long enough today to celebrate the first anniversary of independence, despite Nato's plans to begin enforcing the no-fly zone. But at the United Nations, delegates are to vote on tightening sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro.

The fortunes of war may prove harsh for one victor: Dobroslav Paraga, head of Croatia's extreme nationalist Party of Rights, goes on trial on Tuesday on charges of terrorism and advocating the violent overthrow of the state.

George Bush, however, is set to enjoy the fruits of victory this week. The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al- Sabah, has revamped one of Kuwait's Boeing 747s so that Mr Bush, his wife and sons, his former secretary of state, James Baker, his former spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, and several other former administration officials, can fly in style to Kuwait on Tuesday for a three- day visit.

On Wednesday and Thursday, foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrial nations meet in Tokyo to discuss aid to Russia. On Friday Kiichi Miyazawa, the Japanese Prime Minister, will meet President Bill Clinton for more of the same. A Russian delegation will join the talks on the second day.

In Moscow, the trial of 12 Communists charged with staging the 1991 putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev opens on Wednesday. Before testifying at the trial, the former president will visit San Francisco on Thursday to inaugurate the US headquarters of his foundation. Not to be outdone, Baroness Thatcher visits Warsaw on Friday to open a branch of her foundation.

On Sunday Zimbabwe marks 13 years of black rule. In Delmas, South Africa, 66 defendants go on trial on Tuesday charged in connection with the 1992 massacre at Boipatong township, in which 42 people, most of them ANC supporters, were killed.

Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli PM, visits Poland on Sunday, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising when Jews commemorate Shoah, the mass murders by Hitler.

As Passover (as celebrated by the Branch Davidian sect) ends on Tuesday, a 'satellite city' of media awaits the promised end of the siege between David Koresh and his followers and federal agents in Waco, Texas.

On Sunday, King Michael is hoping to be in Romania for Orthodox Easter. And in Washington, the Dead Sea Scrolls go on display, for the very firt time, at the Library of Congress on Tuesday. On Sunday, Italians vote in a referendum on electoral reform, as do voters in Malawi.

From today to Wednesday, the World Health Organisation is to discuss cocaine-related health problems - a timely conference, given that Sunday is the 50th anniversary of the first LSD trip, taken (accidentally) by a Swiss research chemist, Albert Hoffman, while cycling home.

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