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Lavrov arrives in Vienna for meetings on Nagorno-Karabakh, Syria

May 16, 2016, 17:45 UTC+3 VIENNA
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VIENNA, May 16. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in Vienna to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry later on Monday and attend consultations of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) on May 17, a source in the Russian delegation told TASS.

Apart from that, the Russian top diplomat is expected to take part in a ministerial meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh due to take place on Monday evening.

Armenia and Azerbaijan leaders to meet in Vienna

According to earlier reports, Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan are to meet in the Austrian capital city on Monday. It will be their first personal meeting following the recent aggravation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Foreign ministers of Russia, the United State and France, as co-chair of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - a central international platform for the conflict settlement - will mediate their talks.

The Russian foreign ministry said the Aliyev-Sargsyan consultations mediated by Sergei Lavrov of Russia, John Kerry of the United States and Jean-Marc Ayrault of France will confirm the course towards a political settlement of the situation.

The situation along the line of engagement of the conflicting parties in Nagorno-Karabakh deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2. Following fierce armed clashes at the contact line, the parties to the conflict accused each other of violating truce.

On April 5, Russia mediated a meeting between Colonel-General Nadzhmeddin Sadykov, the chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces General Staff, and Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, the chief of the Armenian Armed Forces General Staff, that took place in Moscow. The sides agreed to cease the hostilities on the line disengaging the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. The defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Armenia announced a ceasefire on the contact line as of 12:00 (11:00 Moscow time) the same day. Ever since, the parties occasionally report brief exchanges of fire at the contact line.

The conflict between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up but was mainly populated by Armenians, broke out in the late 1980s.

In 1991-1994, the confrontation spilled over into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and some adjacent territories. Thousands left their homes on both sides in a conflict that killed 30,000. A truce was called between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh republic on one side and Azerbaijan on the other in May 1994.

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