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Russia, France highlight importance of will in Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire

Sergey Lavrov and Jean-Yves Le Drian pointed out the importance of showing political will to stop hostilities by the opposing parties

MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian underlined in a phone call the importance of manifesting political will by opposing sides to achieve a ceasefire in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Sergey Lavrov and Jean-Yves Le Drian pointed out the importance of showing political will to stop hostilities by the opposing parties," the document reads.

"In the conversation, the ministers substantially discussed the developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, expressed serious concerns over the unending large-scale hostilities and called on the opposing sides to achieve a quick and full ceasefire and de-escalation of tensions," the statement reads.

The sides underlined that there is no alternative to diplomatic resolution of the conflict and highlighted the need to continue concerted actions of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. "Possible scenarios of future developments were considered," the ministry noted.

Lavrov and Le Drian also touched upon the issue of cooperation between the national law enforcement agencies, particularly in light of possible visit of French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to Russia. "The ministers discussed a number of current issues on the bilateral agenda. The emphasis was placed on the need to develop cooperation of law enforcement agencies, particularly in the context of possible visit of French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to Russia to discuss a large range of issues linked to countering terrorism and extremist ideology," the ministry noted.

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. Baku and Yerevan have reached three ceasefire agreements so far but each one of them failed almost immediately as both sides started reporting violations.

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.