Sat, 30 May 2020

Moscow is set to host the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers on April 15 for talks on the conflict over Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, Zohrab Mnatsakanian and Elmar Mammadyarov, will be 'devoted to issues concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.'

The Russian, U.S., and French co-chairs of the OSCE's Minsk Group set up to mediate a solution to the conflict will take part in the discussions, it said.

Nagorno-Karabakh, which is populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Since 1994, it has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces that Baku says include troops supplied by Armenia.

The region's claim to independence has not been recognized by any country.

Internationally mediated negotiations involving the Minsk Group helped forge a cease-fire in the region that is not always honored.

There has been a significant decrease in cease-fire violations around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in recent months.

However, the negotiations have failed to produce a lasting settlement of the conflict so far.

On March 29 in Vienna, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev held their first meeting under the auspices of the Minsk Group.

Yerevan and Baku described the talks as 'positive' and 'constructive,' saying the sides had agreed to strengthen the cease-fire regime in the conflict zone and continue their dialogue.

The summit was Pashinian's and Aliyev's fourth face-to-face encounter in six months.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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