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VIENNA, May 16. /TASS/. A meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev, mediated by the co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement (Russian, the United States and France) has started in Vienna.
The Minsk Group countries are represented by their foreign ministers, Sergey Lavrov of Russia, John Kerry of the United States and Jean-Marc Ayrault of France.
The sides are expected to try to reach a final statement, which is "to commit to paper commitment to political settlements of the conflict in the region," a source in one of the delegations told TASS earlier.
It is the first personal meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents since the aggravation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh in early April.
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.