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Armenia and Azerbaijan leaders to meet in Vienna for talks on Nagorno-Karabakh — source

May 12, 11:31 UTC+3
According to the source, the meeting will take place next week
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© Vahan Stepanyan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, May 12. /TASS/. The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev will meet next week in Vienna to search for ways to settle the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, a diplomatic source in Yerevan told TASS on Thursday.

"The meeting will be held with mediation of co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh (Russia, France and United States)," the source said.

OSCE Minsk Group urges Armenia, Azerbaijan to hold direct talks on Karabakh

Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (the ambassadors of Russia, the United States and France) urged the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Ilkham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan, to begin direct talks on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, says their statement published by the organization on Thursday.

According to the statement, this meeting may take place in Vienna next week.

"In light of the recent violence and the urgency of reducing tensions along the Line of Contact, we believe the time has come for the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet," they said.

Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France said that "Our Foreign Ministers are prepared to facilitate this meeting next week in Vienna." "Their main objectives will be to reinforce the ceasefire regime, and to seek agreement on confidence-building measures that would create favorable conditions for resuming negotiations on a comprehensive settlement on the basis of elements and principles under discussion," the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs said.

"There can be no success in negotiations if violence continues, and there can be no peace without a negotiation process. We reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict," the ambassadors said in the statement.

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 Nadjmeddin 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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