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Tbilisi ready to host OSCE Minsk Group meeting on Karabakh

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili noted that maintaining neutrality is important for Georgia in the issue of confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan

TBILISI, October 5. / TASS /. Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili proposed holding a meeting of the OSCE Minsk Group on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict in Tbilisi, she said in an interview with the Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2, released on Monday.

"Today, both sides (Armenia and Azerbaijan - TASS note) are developing the preconditions that they are ready to use the OSCE Minsk Group. I think we should promote this and see when the Minsk Group can meet, at least in Georgia. We will do our best and are ready for whatever they want," Zourabichvili said.

She once again noted that maintaining neutrality is important for Georgia in the issue of confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. "It is important that we maintain the most important thing for the region - Georgia is and should be in the future completely neutral towards its two neighbors and friends," Zourabichvili said, adding that this week she will talk with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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.

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.