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Putin to discuss Nagorno-Karabakh settlement with Armenian, Azerbaijani leaders

June 20, 2016, 8:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, June 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will on Monday discuss with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in St. Petersburg.

Presidential aide Yury Ushakov earlier told journalists that "Putin is expected to first meet separately with Sargsyan and Aliyev, and then the three presidents will hold talks jointly."

The Kremlin intends to make active steps to contribute to the settlement of the conflict, Ushakov underscored, recalling that Russia already played the key role in cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh in early April 2016.

Putin then in particular held several phone conversations with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the general staff chiefs of the two countries were invited to Moscow, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Yerevan and Baku.

The situation along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2, and fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce. The defense ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a ceasefire with Russia's mediation and later reported that hostilities stopped in Nagorno-Karabakh from 11:00 a.m. Moscow Time April 5.

Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh have been held on the basis of the so-called Madrid Principles suggested by co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - Russia, France and the United States - in December 2007 in the Spanish capital.

They include three key principles written in the Helsinki Final Act: refraining from the threat or use of force, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination.

Nagorno-Karabakh sought independence from Azerbaijan at the end of the 1980s, which resulted in a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that claimed the lives of 25,000-30,000 people between 1988 and 1994. Since then, the territory has been controlled by Armenia.

The OSCE Minsk Group acts as a mediator. It is a mechanism designed to promote a peace solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The group is led by co-chairs France, Russia and the United States. It also comprises Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and Turkey, as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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