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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Azeri Leaders Call Uneasy Truce

BAKU -- Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev on Wednesday appeared in public with rival Prime Minister Surat Huseinov, whom he had earlier accused of mounting a coup, suggesting the two men had agreed to a truce.


Aliyev told a public meeting in the capital Baku he had reprimanded Huseinov for leaving his post for several hours Tuesday evening. Huseinov, standing behind Aliyev, said nothing.


Meanwhile government troops put down rebellions Wednesday in two areas of western Azerbaijan where opposition forces had overthrown local governments, news agencies said. Aliyev said three government troops had been killed.


Special police rebels and armed supporters of Huseinov had seized power in four different areas Tuesday, including the country's second largest city, Gyandzha.


Azerbaijani government troops entered Gyandzha and the neighboring town of Yevlakh on Wednesday morning, driving out the rebels after a half-hour gun battle, the Turan news agency said.


Rebel forces still occupied the Azerbaijani Public Prosecutor's Office in Baku, but negotiations were under way for them to leave, Interfax reported.


Earlier Wednesday Huseinov laughed off allegations by Aliyev that he was trying to grab supreme power, as government forces reported they had seized back a key airport from rebels.


"I am not taking part in any coup. I went to have a cup of tea. I didn't go anywhere," rebel-turned-prime minister Huseinov said in Baku.


Aliyev, who clamped a state of emergency on his nation Monday, said in a dramatic televised address to the nation early Wednesday that "dark forces" backed by pro-Huseinov troops had seized the airport and other strategic buildings in Gyandzha.


But, shortly after a second emotional speech by Aliyev outside the presidential palace, Huseinov called his own early morning news conference in his central Baku offices to announce he was not behind any coup attempt.


(AP, Reuters)