MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was in focus of a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.
"Vladimir Putin informed his French counterpart about the steps that are being taken to prevent further escalation of hostilities and resume talks to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh problem by political and diplomatic means as soon as possible," it said. "It was stressed that the conflicting parties must observe the October 10 and October 17 agreements on cessation of fire."
"The leaders stressed their readiness to continue close coordination between Russia and France as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and within the United Nations Security Council," the Kremlin said.
The presidents also agreed to continue contacts at various levels.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.
Moscow brokered a humanitarian ceasefire that took effect at 12 noon local time on October 10 but was violated. Later, the foreign ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan announced plans to declare another ceasefire at midnight on October 18, but the hostilities continue and the warring parties keep blaming each other for violating the truce.